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Following are the minutes from Meeting 2 of the Startup committee.

Full log

fabe: hi ed
mode (+o epastore ) by fabe
eric-shiny [] entered the room.
epastore: hi, fabe... I'll brb... still making some coffee. :)
fabe: hmm coffee
fabe: brb
mfrischmuth [n=chatzill@] entered the room.
mfrischmuth: hello everyone
eric-shiny: good morning! :)
mbarkhau: hi
mfrischmuth: It's 9 AM here and the coffee is delicious
eric-shiny: same time zone, no coffee :(
eric-shiny: ah well, cinnamon rolls are an acceptable alternative
mfrischmuth: If only we could share...
eric-shiny: yeah, definitely
eric-shiny: a prime example of things which are greater than the sum of their parts
epastore: Good morning/afternoon/evining, folks
epastore: Is anyone logging this for the archive?
gemane: hi
eric-shiny: I can
mbarkhau: yup
epastore: Good. I'm trying new software and can't tell if it is logging
cargilcm [n=follybea@] entered the room.
epastore: Much better attendance than last meeting (only three of us then)
eric-shiny: yeah, i wanted to thank you for all the reminders on the list, ed
epastore: We should wait a couple minutes more before getting on to the agenda, to allow more to show up
eric-shiny: I wasn't actually on it then, but a friend of mine who was told me about it
mfrischmuth: perhaps we can start with introductions, new attendees could catch up easily?
robertpeters [] entered the room.
mbarkhau: everybody one sentence?
epastore: Sure... can't hurt for everyone to send a little intro
epastore: :)
jgilliam [] entered the room.
epastore: My name is Ed Pastore. I'm in the Washington, DC area in the United States. My user page is at
mfrischmuth: Mark Frischmuth - DemocracyLab founder in Portland Oregon, USA
mbarkhau: Manuel Barkhau - metascore developer, CS Student Darmstadt Germany
eric-shiny: I'm Eric, college student in Los Angeles, not really involved with the project yet
cargilcm: Chris Cargile - no claim to fame..not a LOT of experience, working for SAIC,
robertpeters: Robert Peters. Web-app developer living in Calgary, Alberta Canada
jgilliam: Jim Gilliam from
doconnor: Darwin O'Connor. I'm a programmer in Toronto, Canada. I've been thinking about this kind of stuff for quite a while:
gemane: Gerold Neuwirt from Austria, was creating the page to put down my ideas.
epastore: Nice design. Gerold
fabe: Fabian Barkhau - metascore developer
gemane: thx :-D
epastore: And Darwin... 2005... I'm impressed. Most people didn't come up with this idea until around 2007
doconnor: I really should have started working on it then, then you'd all be taking orders from me!
mfrischmuth: I remember the day this idea hatched in my head - Nov 3, 2004 - when the election results sunk in.
eric-shiny: not if you were doing it right, darwin :-P
epastore: Jim, Whitehouse2 is getting some good publicity, isn't it? I know I've "seen it around" on the net...
jgilliam: it's gotten a good amount of traction for this sort of a project, definitely. it's not easy getting people excited about this.
epastore: Understood. People look at ballot initiatives in California and think that is the best that direct democracy has to offer.
mfrischmuth: time to move to the agenda?
epastore: My thought too Mark
fabe: hmm I will take a look whitehouse 2
epastore: First would be the status of Metascore development
epastore: Manuel, I appreciate the video you put out
mbarkhau: np
epastore: Though (and I'm sure you would agree) interface is still a rather significant issue :)
mbarkhau: i had a feeling that the interface was getting in the way
mbarkhau: at least it isn't explorable
fabe: yes this is high up on our todo list
mbarkhau: i think we'll have to do the interface overhaul in a local brainstorming session
epastore: Is anyone working on it in particular... Hadn't Chris (Ritter) said he was interested in that side of development?
fabe: no code came of it
mbarkhau: yes and i was hopeful at the time
epastore: I'll try to give him a nudge
mbarkhau: we made quite a bit of effort to make the install barrier go down
epastore: I wanted to ask more broadly, since others have brought it up... is there a way to make better use of some of the code that is out there?
epastore: It seems like there are now a lot of projects in a similar vein to ours... and ours is relatively unadvanced by comparison
fabe: most of our code is from others
epastore: (not criticizing... just pointing out)
epastore: I hadn't realized, Fabe
epastore: example?
eric-shiny: There was at one point a suggestion that Metascore be written as a Vanilla extension, wasn't it?
mbarkhau: mercurial, pygments, django, mediawiki library...
epastore: That was my initial idea, Eric, but I'm no developer
gemane: I personally found helpful, which is put on top of Django
epastore: Ah, I see... but I meant more high-level code. For example, something like freegovernment is open source
fabe: i would however say our code is quite advanced
epastore: Or DemocracyLab is publishing its code, isn't it?
jgilliam: fwiw, i am open sourcing shortly... like any day now. it's ruby on rails.
mbarkhau: the user interface doesn't give justice to what is under the hood
fabe: do not be fooled by the bad ui
epastore: I guess it is just the interface that is making me think it is primitive...
epastore: so that's a x3 :)
mbarkhau: we gave a presentation a few weeks ago and people were interested in it's potential as sort of a wiki2.0
mfrischmuth: Yes, our code is available here;jsessionid=3C70D675623C26513C12940D865114CB.810
epastore: Am I right in understanding that Metascore is essentially a DVCS at its core?
mbarkhau: yes
PietroSperoni [] entered the room.
epastore: I hadn't realized you were taking it that deep. Could you explain that in lay english?
PietroSperoni: hello everybody
eric-shiny: Is there a specific problem with the user interface development, or has it just been (understandably) delayed in favor of working on the guts?
mbarkhau: the problem with using other code, is that not everything is as readiliy reusable as you might wish
eric-shiny: Ed, a DVCS is a Data Validation and Certification Server
epastore: That is, can you tell other people the implication of its being a DVCS
jgilliam: yeah, it's not. particularly if you've got the guts pretty far along
epastore: In this case, I think it is Distributed Code Versioning System
mbarkhau: @eric-shiny: both
eric-shiny: Thanks, Mark. And Ed, ah, that makes a lot more sense
epastore: From what I understand, it essentially means that everyone runs their own copy of Metascore... if they want to?
epastore: (Hi, Pietro... you haven't missed much yet)
fabe: yes and no
PietroSperoni: Thanks Ed, I was wondering. Just could free myself now
mbarkhau: dvcs isn't trivial
fabe: one chose to run an own instange
mbarkhau: so making an intuitive web interface for it won't be trivial
fabe: indeed :/
mbarkhau: the next thing up before we continue coding is brainstorming ideas that make in intuitive for the user without sacrificing its usefullness
PietroSperoni: When we have the time, I would like to add an elemment to the list of things to discuss
epastore: So if, for example, I start a community on my instance of Metascore, how does someone else's instance sync with mine? How do we avoid them being two different communities?
fabe: we dont atm
mbarkhau: they are two different communites
epastore: Is that planned, however?
fabe: we will see
mbarkhau: the idea of a community is that within it, the content is shared
epastore: (Just trying to get a better understanding of the scope of how you're doing it)
mbarkhau: as they say: if you have to explain it, you're doing it wrong
robertpeters: So one branch per community?
epastore: I don't understand, Manuel... Does that mean one server per community?
epastore: :/
PietroSperoni: I think eventually we would like to have it distributed
fabe: so do we
PietroSperoni: but it is so much harder, that I think we need to go one step at a time
mbarkhau: atm yes, because it's mostly centered around a dvcs repo
epastore: OK, so it's in the scope... but far beyond the early alpha that we're in now
PietroSperoni: One idea would be to have different communties chare ideas.
PietroSperoni: so share
mbarkhau: the community is a metaphore for related repos
PietroSperoni: so the idea might be shared, but the voting wouldn't
fabe: yes
PietroSperoni: unless the same person coexist in different community
mbarkhau: related in the sense that you can merge content between them
epastore: So each server operator would have to deliberately merge with another?
epastore: or sync, I mean
mbarkhau: no, i'd say that can be done by the members
mbarkhau: the hard part is syncing the metadata
PietroSperoni: so a member would import message a from community b?
doconnor: Perhaps it might be better to consider communities separate. In more realistic operations communities would probably only be occationally created by administators.
PietroSperoni: I have an idea!
PietroSperoni: Taking Manuel idea, a member can either propose an idea or import it from another place
doconnor: An individual community should be able to support a wide range of ideas.
PietroSperoni: if he imports it, all the people who have already voted for it, will have their vote import in it
epastore: @mbarkhau isn't that what tagging is supposed to be for?
fabe: we have currently no protocoll for server communication and their are many ther things to do before
fabe: ...
epastore: So, more on-task... is there a set way others can contribute to the coding work? That is, would you benefit from more help, or would too many cooks spoil the broth, as they say?
PietroSperoni: @fabe, yes but we want to proceed to let things be possibe later on
fabe: yes
PietroSperoni: Ed, about the coding, can I introduce something before
PietroSperoni: I am in the process of starting a european project
mbarkhau: @ed: we can definatly use a developer or two more
PietroSperoni: on the ideas we are working on
PietroSperoni: I would like to know how this can be done so that it would help this project
PietroSperoni: Maybe some of the code we develop in the EU project would be used
PietroSperoni: could
fabe: what broject?
mbarkhau: what is the proposal for that project so far?
PietroSperoni: we are writing it right now
epastore: Who is we?
mbarkhau: @fabe the one that will be sponsered by the eu
PietroSperoni: the deadline is the beginning of april
PietroSperoni: and it is with Giovani
robertpeters: How likely is it that the proposal will be accepted?
epastore: oh, right
PietroSperoni: good question. Not very, but if it will, then a huge part of work can be done
PietroSperoni: we will have money, coders
PietroSperoni: possibility to present the work at conferences
PietroSperoni: and some people can apply, and join us as codemonkeys, ehm phd students
PietroSperoni: :)
fabe: can we see the current status of the proposal?
epastore: Is it written in Italian? :)
PietroSperoni: it is in english
PietroSperoni: but I am not satisfied with the current level
mbarkhau: ok but the work can't be related directly to metagovernment/metascore if i understand correctly?
PietroSperoni: because it has so far been developed by Giovani's groups only
PietroSperoni: that's the point
PietroSperoni: if I am in there it WILL be doing work in the metascore, because I like so much this approach
epastore: What is Giovani's group?
PietroSperoni: but, I would like not to be alone as a representative of our group
fabe: and what is the chance of a merge
PietroSperoni: wait, I find the url
fabe: between the projects
gemane: I would like to support you from the austrian side if possible
fabe: or open cooperation
epastore: (FYI everyone, we've kinda skipped ahead on the agenda to #4 about the FP7 conference)
robertpeters: Yes, let's go back to coding, please.
PietroSperoni: robert, please wait a sec
PietroSperoni: oh, sorry
PietroSperoni: should I wait
PietroSperoni: I did not know the fp7 was part of the agenda
PietroSperoni: ?
epastore: is OK... we can flow back and forth. As long as we do get back to the coding soon
PietroSperoni: ok
PietroSperoni: so the giovani group developed some software
PietroSperoni: Continuous Democracy Main Project
PietroSperoni: Rule2Gether
PietroSperoni: Draft2Gether
PietroSperoni: Decide2Gether
PietroSperoni: Do2Gether
PietroSperoni: the group is the telematic freedom
epastore: yeesh
PietroSperoni: thier idea is to build bricks that then will be used by communities
mbarkhau: so far only for one of them there is software though i think
PietroSperoni: I think there are at least 4 software, but they have not been developed fully
PietroSperoni: but I might be wrong
PietroSperoni: the question is, how much of their bricks can we use
PietroSperoni: can we program our own bricks in this project?
PietroSperoni: that then would fit into metascore?
epastore: (and now we're back to the coding discussion. :) )
PietroSperoni: and what else would you like us to work on?
mbarkhau: well bricks is a nice word, it's much harder to integrate different software components than just stacking them up
PietroSperoni: @Ed thats the Tao :)
mbarkhau: in practice
fabe: we will have to look at the code
PietroSperoni: agreed
PietroSperoni: fabe, are you coding to?
epastore: How would our two projects be able to present as one FP7 proposal?
fabe: yes
PietroSperoni: The request in the FP 7 is really cool
PietroSperoni: and can pretty easily encompass both
PietroSperoni: plus if they are giving us all this money (it is a lot)
PietroSperoni: and you are having 4 universities included
mbarkhau: in terms of code the main components i seen that are needed is the tagging system and the scoreing system. both are very integrated into the datastructure of the specific app and i don't think you will find ready to use components that you can plug in to fill in that role
PietroSperoni: you are expected to do a lot of work
fabe: as far as i have seen we complement each other well
fabe: from a functionality standpoint
mbarkhau: so I'm wondering what we could add to the proposal that wouldn't be directly developing for metascore
robertpeters: @mbarkhau, there are tagging plug-ins for django, aren't there? Or do they not meet your needs?
PietroSperoni: Well, my specific is the tagging
PietroSperoni: I am generally not satisfied with the tagging, as it is done around
PietroSperoni: the maths about it has been developed in the last years, but no one is applying those solutions
mbarkhau: @robert yes there are and they are usefull but they only go so far
fabe: tagging is allready half done and not that big of a problem
mbarkhau: there is allot you can reuse from them and their a great starting point
epastore: So... would anyone else here be able to contribute to the Metascore coding work? And/or to the interface design?
fabe: a web designer would be nice for a start
robertpeters: :)
robertpeters: I'm still hesitant to get involved, for reasons I've stated before.
mbarkhau: the previous projecT?
robertpeters: ?
mbarkhau: you mentioned having a bad experience with a previous project i think
mbarkhau: what was your experiance there? maybe we can address some of your problems
fabe: manu and i would gladly walk you through the code
robertpeters: Ah yes. That has something to do with it. It was a learning experience.
robertpeters: It's more that I'm not yet convinced we're going to succeed. That sounds harsh, and I hate being the negative one all the time.
robertpeters: I feel like MetaScore is way too complex, violating the KISS principle.
robertpeters: And that makes me nervous.
fabe: manu and i usuly work together over skype, we could do the same
mbarkhau: at it's core it's just a frontend for dvcs
robertpeters: I have limited free time (4-month old baby), and would like to help, but don't want to invest without return, as it were.
mbarkhau: i think that's simple enough
robertpeters: I'm sorry if I seem like an ass. it's not my intention.
epastore: When we started, I gave the project well under a 1% chance of succeeding... I now think we are well above 2%. If I only worked on it because I thought it was guaranteed to succeed, I would have given up a long time ago.
robertpeters: You have doubled your odds!  :)
mbarkhau: @robert nobody is an ass to take time for their family
PietroSperoni: Ed worked hard to keep us in line in a yin way
fabe: i think we are farther ..
epastore: There is a difference between simple and simplistic
epastore: Some of the other systems out there are very simplistic... but I don't think they are any better than mob rule
mbarkhau: take, whitehouse2 for example,
epastore: If we want to rise above the idea of imposing the will of the majority, we need some complexity
PietroSperoni: the fact is that even democracy is a very complex "thing"
mbarkhau: as far as i can see the emphasis isn't on developing legislation but expressing opinions
mfrischmuth: how close is metascore to a working, simplified prototype?
PietroSperoni: with all the checks and balances
jgilliam: there is a direct correlation between complexity and the # of people you can get involved
fabe: ~66%
mbarkhau: ah fabe you're optimistic =)
robertpeters: Sorry, I've derailed our discussion. Ed, I will write you an email with my reasons stated explicitly, and you can do with it as you will.
fabe: yes :)
PietroSperoni: jgilliam, this is true only regarding the front side
PietroSperoni: it must be easy to use
PietroSperoni: and fair inside
PietroSperoni: but most people are happy not to understand everything inside
mfrischmuth: One of the painful things about getting DemocracyLab's version out - stripping out as much of it as possible to publish something that people can work with.
PietroSperoni: how many people know how an engine of a car works?
robertpeters: 7?
robertpeters: That was a joke...  :(
fabe: i doubt most people could explaning dvcs is not easy
mfrischmuth: we've found this useful in getting more developers involved - once there's something concrete to criticize, people are interested in improving on it.
epastore: Mark, there is a published prototype, though it is rather rough around the edges
mbarkhau: i think if you actually tried the current version of the prototype already is somewhat usable
jgilliam: i'm not talking about complexity inside, you can make that as complex as you want (and whitehouse2 actually has quite a bit going on as far as how the rankings work and things like that). but i'm talking about complexity in the ui, how many things do you let people do
mbarkhau: and if it were used, developers would have more incentive to contribute
robertpeters: That's the heart of it, mbarkhau
fabe: in fact we are allready using it for development
robertpeters: This is why I advocate the simplest thing that might possibly work.
epastore: I agree with Jim that the external appearance has to be very accessible
epastore: In the current prototype, I am quite confused by the various tabs
matiasBatto [] entered the room.
PietroSperoni: I think the fact about the current is that there is some css work to be done
PietroSperoni: that makes it clear what is answering to what, etc
fabe: mildly put ;-)
PietroSperoni: LOL
epastore: (Welcome, Matías... we're still on the second agenda item: Metascore)
PietroSperoni: hi Matias
PietroSperoni: so there are three elements
fabe: i think we can best find out what needs to be changed if more people were using it
PietroSperoni: 1) is the engine doing what we want
PietroSperoni: 2) is the UI good enough for people to use it
matiasBatto: hi pietro, hi all
PietroSperoni: 3) is what we want to be done, correct?
mbarkhau: ok let's try to answer 3 first
PietroSperoni: so, I think we should have an explanation simple of what the engine does right now
PietroSperoni: how to use UI
mfrischmuth: I'm playing with the Metascore demo now, don't see any scoring (rating/voting)?
PietroSperoni: and then the 3rd we will approach in waves
epastore: To some extent, that is the purpose of Manuel's video
fabe: scoreing is not done j
mbarkhau: mfrischmuth: voting only on proposals
robertpeters: Gentlemen, I must leave. I'll read the transcript when it's posted later. Good luck to us all!
robertpeters left the room.
PietroSperoni: Yes (note to self, look at Manuel video before opening my mouth again)
mbarkhau: bye
PietroSperoni: Bye Robert
PietroSperoni: good luck with your 4 months old :)
mfrischmuth: My suggestion is to simplify to the most essentail functionality, and get that working, then build from there.
mfrischmuth: I also suggest we move the agenda. I think we're going to start losing more people if we take an hour for every item.
PietroSperoni: we have met last time 9 months ago. It is bound to take some time
fabe: generly their 2 things we need ...
eric-shiny: I'm afraid I've also got to head out, time to leave for class.
epastore: I supposed we've pushed this as far as we can for the moment. But I'd still like to hear from anyone who might be able to help Manuel and Fabe with the coding
eric-shiny: Good luck with the agenda and I'll be reading the transcript!
eric-shiny left the room (quit: "Leaving").
PietroSperoni: Ed, I can if parts of it becomes part of the FP7
fabe: 1. more code without code nothing
PietroSperoni: I can't if not
fabe: 1. more people using it
matiasBatto left the room (quit: Read error: 104 (Connection reset by peer)).
fabe: without feedback we are in the dark
PietroSperoni: can we move the discussion directly there?
PietroSperoni: so we are actually working inside it?
epastore: OK, so can everyone here please, sometime in the next 48 hours, go to and perform at least one action.
mbarkhau: @fabe we're not completly in the dark, i think most of the problems are more obvious to us than anybody here
fabe: the discussion maby not the wiki definitly
epastore: action being post a comment, etc.
mfrischmuth: Ed, I'm trying now to act in metascore, am in a proposal, and can't figure out how to vote/score/rate
PietroSperoni: i just joined
fabe: @manu that is the problem their is to large a gap
mbarkhau: @mark i's probably allready been accepted
mfrischmuth: in any case, metascore is welcome to use anything and everything DLab has created. We'll be getting a lot of development work done over the next couple weeks, some of which may be useful to you.
epastore: So, later today or tomorrow, go to and give it a try and post questions to the list server (if not internally in Metascore).
epastore: Moving on to next item...
epastore: Formal organization
epastore: I have been asking around about what some of our options are
PietroSperoni: this is related with FP 7
epastore: I tried to find a way we could form as a completely international organization and/or as a nationless organization
mfrischmuth: @Ed sounds like the mob?
epastore: The latter is right out of the question. if we want to be taken seriously (particularly by foundations or other monied interests) we have to have a formal organization with a formal structure
PietroSperoni: we need one if we want to join the FP 7 proposal
mbarkhau: for fp 7 the organization would have to be in the eu?
epastore: As for an international organization, the only country that allows an organization to form as explicitly international is Belgium.
PietroSperoni: I don't think so
PietroSperoni: brilliant, so is belgium-international :)
epastore: And forming in Belgium has its own problems... it would be expensive up-front, and it would likely require that we have someone in Belgium, which I think we don't right now
mbarkhau: belgium is belgium =)
matiasBatto [] entered the room.
fabe: what do we intend do with a formal organisation?
PietroSperoni: why do we need a formal organization, if not to participate in the FP7.
fabe: what is its goal?
epastore: The next best idea I've had (and I'm not entirely fond of this) is to start an organization in one or more of our native countries and have an informal international federation among those organizations
fabe: appart from fp7
PietroSperoni: so each would have its own organization?
epastore: Any sort of money handling, basically
gemane: @epastore I think this is the way to go
matiasBatto2 [i=c870943e@gateway/web/ajax/] entered the room.
gemane: later we can change to an international organization
epastore: If we hope to get any other organization to fund us or otherwise work with us, they want to know that we're not just some internet mob
fabe: and what do we need money for appart from servers ...
mfrischmuth: I'll renew the offer of Metagovernment/Metascore using DLab's formal organizational structure. Our intent is to be a labratory for participatory democracy software.
epastore: To pay you to work on Metascore. :)
mbarkhau: i agree with gemane
PietroSperoni: we can pay him if we win the FP7
mbarkhau: @mark how is your organization structured so far
mfrischmuth: I thinik the formal org is very helpful in raising/overseeing/spending money. We're a 501c3 nonprofit.
mfrischmuth: which means we're educational, charitable, and exempt from tax.
epastore: Right... the other option is to organize as a project of another organization
PietroSperoni: if you don't have money handling, you don't have tax either
mfrischmuth: people get a tax deduction in the US for contributions they make to us, and foundations generally require a 501c3 status to make grants.
epastore: Mark, from what I've been told, US foundations are not allowed to give money to other organizations unless that organization is a formal non-profit
mbarkhau: so mark you would be willing to adopt metascore as a project in your organization?
mfrischmuth: We have a board of directors who democratically make decisions, if we went this route we would want a metagovernment rep on the board.
mfrischmuth: @ Ed, yes and we are a formal nonprofit
PietroSperoni: wait a sec
PietroSperoni: all this time we have been saying how democracy is not working
epastore: Right... I'm just saying US foundations are not allowed by law to give money to our project unless we have a formal organization (or are a project of another org)
PietroSperoni: so the fact of being part of an organization who is DEMOCRATICALLY making decisions...
PietroSperoni: just doesn't sound quite right!
fabe: agree
PietroSperoni: @fabe, to what? or to who?
fabe: but their is a better solution
epastore: That has been something like my objection... to create a non-profit, we need to have a board of directors. That seems to violate our basic principles
mbarkhau: what we're saying is that "representative" democracy isn't working no?
fabe: with you
mfrischmuth: @manu yes, we'd be happy for metagovernment to be a project in DLab, and use the nonprofit structure as a tool for raising money (and allow such money to be used exclusively for metagovernment)
PietroSperoni: no, also direct democracy, it crashes minorities
PietroSperoni: at least let us use condercet voting for the internal votings.
mfrischmuth: I think there's a point where idealism meets reality. Accomplishing our objectives requires money, and a formal organization is essential to raising money.
PietroSperoni: I am not sure, you need that much money
PietroSperoni: I mean, to pay for servers we can just pay between us
mbarkhau: @pietro but we're not arguing that democracy is principally wrong, but that it should be consensus based. As long as we can join DLab and all decisions therin are based on consensus i think it might be the way to go
mbarkhau: eventually using metascore for dlab decisions
PietroSperoni: yes, if we join the FP7 we need to handle money, but then EUrope will make sure the money is used all up, and all for the project
fabe: i think only make such decisions with metascore
mfrischmuth: My experience with asking developers to work for free has been frustrating. I've found that paying someone is the only way to get things done efficiently and with accountability.
PietroSperoni: would dlab, be happy to let us handling their internal democratic system?
epastore: I would think they would want to use their own software
fabe: so do i
PietroSperoni: i would imagine too
epastore: The one thing I have not gotten to yet is to see how Collectives are organized
mfrischmuth: @Pietro No, we view our board as the organization for guiding software development (for DLab's software)
cargilcm: @mfrischmuth - I need an organization to raise money to meet reality
fabe: but what i have see so far is quite different from our software
mfrischmuth: If Metagoverment wants to use metascore for guiding your software, that's fine
PietroSperoni: I personally would not like to see metascore or metagovernment become part of another project
fabe: nor would i
PietroSperoni: collaborate yes, but part of, with them being able to decide over metagovernmnet, nop
mfrischmuth: what I'm suggesting is that you could use the umbrella of democracylab as a tool allowing you to raise money, that money would be segmented, metagov decides how to spend it, and the projects collaborate as desired
PietroSperoni: Ok, where is the money coming from?
matiasBatto2: i'm really ok with that
epastore: I think the offer is wonderful, Mark... but I also am wary of being a sub-group of another organization
PietroSperoni: because if we are the ones paying then we don't need all that
jgilliam: what mark is suggesting is pretty common in the non-profit world.
mfrischmuth: @Ed I think this is something you and I could discuss in DC
jgilliam: it takes a bit of effort to set up a non-profit and get legal status (at least in the US)
mbarkhau: ok looking out a few years, will we eventually want to form an organization? Is this something we will eventually have to do?
jgilliam: so frequently, new groups will have 'fiscal sponsors' that are basically pass throughs
mbarkhau: if so why not start with it now?
cargilcm: @ed - i think we need somewhat of a structure so someone can synopsis where we stand on issues, like css in order to move this forward
gemane: is it possible to set up our own organization?
PietroSperoni: @mfrischmuth although Ed has a prominent role we all decide.
PietroSperoni: how is wikimedia organized?
cargilcm: i guess I am getting back to the coding, if more people understand what we are doing, the software will be used more, and more people will contribute
PietroSperoni: not wikipedia, but wikimedia
mfrischmuth: @Pietro yes, I'm thinking an in person discussion could allow Ed to make a report to the group for its consideration
epastore: Wikimedia is a US nonprofit corporation
epastore: (I think)
PietroSperoni: thankd
cargilcm: can we come up with a page for discussions around the formal organization of this project? or does the group feel thats what needs to be talked about now?
PietroSperoni: thanks
epastore: @cargilcm: have a look at:
epastore: So far, I have written that page.. would love some input from others
PietroSperoni: @mfrischmuth I am sorry, I have so much uneasiness over people discussing things by the side. Nothing personal :)
cargilcm: ok..i'm sorry for me to get a synopsis of our progress, the wiki does not work for me..requires too much time
PietroSperoni: neither for me right now :(
PietroSperoni: oops
epastore: Regardless of where we take this, I am going to do more research on forming as a US non-profit and see what options we have there. I'm not saying we should do that, but I'll see what is involved (other than the $300 I would have to pay the US government to register :) )
jgilliam: @epastore: incorporating is the easy part, the hard part is convincing the IRS to give you non-profit status... that can take a very long time
cargilcm: @pietro: would you like to see the content of the website arranged categorically?
PietroSperoni: thanks jg :)
epastore: I think a US org can be a registered nonprofit and not a corporation, but I haven't had time to look into that. It may avoid us having to designate a board of directors
cargilcm: I mean things are categorized, but it is difficult to follow what action a volunteeer needs to take
PietroSperoni: generally I am for bottom up, folksonomy
mfrischmuth: I ended up writing a check to an attorney for about $1500 to get our nonprofit application filed. It was approved. I'm happy to share our application, as metagov's could be very similar.
epastore: @mark... it certainly wouldn't hurt to see :)
fabe: that would be great
matiasBatto2: and what about being part of dlab while we raise our own non-profit organization?
cargilcm: pietro: I'm not advocating otherwise, just separating topics and presenting them on pages where comments can be made
PietroSperoni: @cargilcm: strange question, but the general answer is no. I would like to see the content aranged by the tags that people give.
mbarkhau: until we have decided on how/if/where we want to form an organization, should we collaborate with dlab, obviously this isn't the long term sollution, i'm just trying to be practical
mfrischmuth: @matias that's fine. I just want to see our objectives get met, and if that helps you and/or us, great.
PietroSperoni: do we need an urgent solution? do we have a list of organizations which are waiting to give us money?
epastore: ha!
epastore: not at all
fabe: i wish :-)
cargilcm: this needs to occur sooner..isn't there a solution that is already developed for groups where we can tag our comments? or similar?
PietroSperoni: @cargilcm: we should not get 2 questions going at the same time. But we should avoid as much as possible top down categories, a la digg.
PietroSperoni: @cargilcm: as I said, I am really unhappy how tags have been used
mbarkhau: @pietro, would collaboration with dlab help with the fp7 proposal?
epastore: But the point is, at least for FP7 you need to have an organization, right?
PietroSperoni: I am aware of the maths around it, and no one is using them at their full potentiality
epastore: ditto what Manuel just said
PietroSperoni: yes, but is there anyone apart from me that is interested in FP7? and can we have an organization in time?
PietroSperoni: European organization
mfrischmuth: I've talked Giovani about collaborating on FP7. My impression is that they have a European org?
PietroSperoni: good point, is dlab USA based?
epastore: I can form a US organization rather quickly... it just won't have IRS approval as a non-profit for up to a year
mfrischmuth: @Pietro yes
PietroSperoni: can they participate?
matiasBatto2: well, maybe we don't have organizations waiting to give us money because we need where to put it before start asking seriously
PietroSperoni: because in the FP7 we need to bring 4 nations
epastore: @Matías... yes
PietroSperoni: they have italy, and germany
PietroSperoni: then there is a shell of an organization in greece
PietroSperoni: and I would be from portugal
PietroSperoni: what we really would need is someone from estonia
cargilcm: pietro: don't you think it would helpful for us to top-down things a little bit? I don't see why the main page can't be broken into the 7 agenda items
mbarkhau: @carigilcm offtopic
PietroSperoni: @cargilcm: after. But the time you top down you break the symmetry. And then tags don't work so well anymore.
PietroSperoni: so if metagovernment would be from estonia, now that would be really helpful for FP7
cargilcm: @mbarkhau, pietro: this is my concern for now, I will not impede the discussion for now, any longer thanks guys :)
cargilcm: ps. I'll read the transcript :) take care all
cargilcm left the room (quit: ).
epastore: Taking up Matâs' comment... if we had an organization, I would be inclined to start approaching foundations asking for grants
PietroSperoni: no prob. see you on the discussion
PietroSperoni: good point ed
epastore: If there really is a need for money
mfrischmuth: @Ed the Sunlight foundation is a particularly good candidate for grants. They are sponsoring Transparency Camp...
epastore: And it seems like that would be helpful
matiasBatto2: money is always welcome, we'll find useful ways to spend it
PietroSperoni: if we bebcome a part of dlab, I would ask to have some ways to make sure that if we are unhappy we can leave taking a copy of the software.+
mfrischmuth: @Pietro as an open source project, I think that's a given
mbarkhau: @pietro that goes without saying,
PietroSperoni: fair enough
PietroSperoni: sorry, if I act so paranoid
PietroSperoni: if I wasn't so paranoid, I probably would not have been in this project ;-)
epastore: Just had a weird idea... I really don't know if it would work. But maybe we can create two or more organizations (eg US and Germany, for example) and have each be on the board of the other. Just kinda brainstorming here
PietroSperoni: having a EU organization would really help with the FPs
fabe: the gpl should protect our code i wouldnt be worried about that
matiasBatto2: yes, a nice possibility
PietroSperoni: btw, if we get the FP7 grant, are there people in the organization who would be willing to come and work as phd students?
matiasBatto2: i
mbarkhau: me2
epastore: OK, well, it sounds like I have more work to do... I will try to do more research on US non-profits, will talk to Mark about his experiences and our options with DLab, and will report back to the list or call another meeting
fabe: if it is possible for me i would also
epastore: Can some others here look into forming organizations in your host countries?
mbarkhau: i'll look in germany yes
gemane: I will
gemane: <- Austria
epastore: And is anyone geographically near Brussels? :)
fabe: i think manu and i are nearest ;)
epastore: Great... just write a message to the list, or post on that page when you find something out
PietroSperoni: ok, I like that we have people who would be willing to come as phd students
PietroSperoni: you would need to come to portugal, but the sun shines here :-P
epastore: Pietro, is there more you want to discuss about FP7?
PietroSperoni: Yes, but I also have a time issue
PietroSperoni: I need to make an online check in, as tomorrow I am leaving
PietroSperoni: please
PietroSperoni: please
PietroSperoni: let us brainstorm
PietroSperoni: what can the fp7 do for us
PietroSperoni: develop tagging?
PietroSperoni: develop a good userinterface
PietroSperoni: can we have a place where we can get some of the discussion with Giovani with you guys
mbarkhau: tagging: possible yes, but would have to be within metascore not as separate project
PietroSperoni: I don't want to feel I am alone in this. I want to feel that you guys back me up, and that we develop something together
matiasBatto left the room (quit: Connection timed out).
epastore: Is Giovani on the Dev list server?
PietroSperoni: maybe also could be good to suggest that we produce a prototype that would join together what thay are doing
PietroSperoni: so should we open a page on the wiki for that?
PietroSperoni: I can keep it updated, but I need you guys
mbarkhau: you mean the fp7 proposal in the wiki?
PietroSperoni: especially fabe, Manuel (the programmer) to check it fairly regularly. And everybody else also
PietroSperoni: Ed
PietroSperoni: yes
mbarkhau: that would be great
PietroSperoni: I have not been able to keep up with all the discussions
fabe: maby metascore i look their more often ...
PietroSperoni: so I need people at times to summarise things
PietroSperoni: fabe, ??
PietroSperoni: please repeat
mbarkhau: he's just eager to get us using metascore
fabe: :)
mbarkhau: i think people are more comfortable in the wiki for now
fabe: that may be true
mbarkhau: if i get a look at the proposal, i think we can work on tagging for fp7
mbarkhau: that is incoporating it into the proposal
PietroSperoni: yes
mbarkhau: is that something giovanis group whould aggree with?
PietroSperoni: we are peer to peer
fabe: i think we should do something bigger for fp7
PietroSperoni: I am not working for them, we are working together
PietroSperoni: agreed
PietroSperoni: tagging, plus fp7, plus using tagging to organise informations,
mbarkhau: the probably have draft2gether in there somewhere?
PietroSperoni: yes
PietroSperoni: that is something else
fabe: maby the server communication which was discussed in the beginning?
mbarkhau: it's similar in goal to metascore
PietroSperoni: but maybe we could use that to work on the proposal
PietroSperoni: that was discussed also in giovani
PietroSperoni: what about the idea that people can import the ideas, and that would import the votes as well?
fabe: that is what i ment
mbarkhau: ok, that would be providing a protocol on each server, for exchange of the voting data
fabe: yes
PietroSperoni: interesting
mbarkhau: you can generalize that to all metadata/resources
PietroSperoni: so maybe you guys can help me in defining the work we will be submitting
mbarkhau: yes
mbarkhau: how is the proposal being edited right now?
mbarkhau: can we bring that into the wiki?
mbarkhau: and use the list giovanni has set up for discussion
PietroSperoni: I am not sure they would be ok with all this
PietroSperoni: I can share what is going on
PietroSperoni: and then act as an interface
PietroSperoni: we might get you in his list
PietroSperoni: or I just forward you the emails
mbarkhau: i am on the list i think
PietroSperoni: but part of the people who are there are italian professors (very formal)
PietroSperoni: we need to pretend we are serious people ;-)
PietroSperoni: good, then you can read what is going on
PietroSperoni: so shall we do so?
PietroSperoni: Ed, can we go to the next point (in case)
epastore: OK, can we move on now? I think we can rush through the rest of the agenda...
epastore: I had just typed the above :)
epastore: We can combine the next two items thusly... can everyone (excepting Jim and Mark) please state what you are willing to do next for the project?
fabe: :)
epastore: For me, my assignments are to do more research and report on options for organization. For Pietro, I think it is to get Giovani to work with Manuel or otherwise advance the FP7 project. For Manuel and Fabe... I guess your work is already set out for you.
epastore: Can other people commit to any task? And/or suggest tasks that need to be undertaken?
epastore: Some things needed include:
epastore: help with coding
epastore: help with interface
epastore: recruit outside programmers
epastore: help build up the wiki
epastore: And regardless of anything else, everyone please go to the prototype and bang around in it sometime in the next two days.
PietroSperoni: ok, my work is set up. I am off, I will read the transcript from now on :)
mbarkhau: bye
fabe: bye
epastore: ciao
fabe: i would nice to have good docu on how to use metascore
matiasBatto2: bye
mbarkhau: for me, research on organization in germany, brainstorming on interface overhaul, continue programming in mid april
jgilliam: good bye everyone... i hope to meet some of you at transparency camp next weekend
jgilliam left the room.
mbarkhau: @fabe docu isn't important before thin interface is fixed
PietroSperoni: bye all
PietroSperoni left the room.
fabe: true but i mean basic dvcs understanding
mbarkhau: ok
mbarkhau: also i will be trying to help pietro with the proposal of course
matiasBatto2: having a non-profit in argentina would be of any help?
epastore: Darwin, Gerold, Keyvan, Matias... can you give yourself an assignment you could complete?
matiasBatto2: i'm thinking...
epastore: Maybe you could answer that for us, Matias. :) It would be helpful to at least know what would be involved and what it could offer
doconnor: I'll see what I can do. I've got a 5 month old, so I'll be done with that one month sooner then Robert.
epastore: :D
fabe: hehe
epastore: If you could even do something on the Promote section of this page it would be helpful...
matiasBatto2: it's a good point, i'll do it
epastore: Or otherwise try to recruit other programmers...
gemane: i will be checking for starting an organization in austria
fabe: @gnmane is their an austrian equivalent of the germen "verein"?
epastore: OK, well... I'm not sure why I put TransparencyCamp on the agenda, since I don't really have any questions. Anyone have anything else to talk about, or is 2+ hours enough. :)
gemane: we call it also "verein"
mfrischmuth: I've thought about trying to get the members in our session to complete a high level overview of each project prior to the meeting
gemane: and i guess it is pretty much the same
epastore: Interesting
mfrischmuth: I haven't gotten to formatting it yet and distributing it as I've been traveling this week. I'm hoping to do that this weekend
fabe: i was wondering if they are bound legaly to their countery
fabe: ?
mfrischmuth: I'm referring to transparency camp...
epastore: Sounds great, Mark... I think this will be a very interesting gettogether.
fabe: thx ed the swiss verein sounds promising
epastore: For those who haven't seen, Mark and I are meeting with at least four other projects at TransparencyCamp. They are listed on our session here:
RonSk [] entered the room.
epastore: Hey, Ron! You made it
epastore: And we're just wrapping up. :)
RonSk: Took forever, sorry.
matiasBatto2: hi, Ron
RonSk: I think I read that minutes of the meeting will be posted?
RonSk: Hello, all.
fabe: hi ron
mbarkhau: the log will be
mbarkhau: does somebody want to make a summary?
RonSk: I will make sure to read the log. Sorry I missed the meeting.
matiasBatto2: i'll do the summary
epastore: That'd be great
mfrischmuth: Anything else to cover before we sign off?
fabe: were you here from the begining?
epastore: Just to let people know... Ron is an old friend of mine (we go waaay back). He's a teacher and I think has been talking about discussing the project with his students
matiasBatto2: no, but i'm going to read the log
fabe: i can give you a full log as i am always here
matiasBatto2: great
epastore: Can you post the log here, please?
RonSk: Thanks for the intro, Ed. I would love to discuss this with my students. My fiancee teaches Government in high school, and is also interested in learning more about the project.
matiasBatto2: i'll search for it in the wiki, later
fabe: yes
epastore: OK, well I have to get on with what's left of my Saturday
mfrischmuth: Thanks everyone for the excellent meeting. I'll look forward to our continuing collaboration.
epastore: Please keep up the good work, and keep in mind the to-do list enumerated above
RonSk: I'll catch it from the beginning next time!
mfrischmuth left the room.
epastore: If you can bring anyone else into the project (particularly to help with coding/interface) that should be a top priority
matiasBatto2: the to-do list and task keeping will appear on community portal
epastore: Thanks, Matias. You've been doing great stuff with the wiki
matiasBatto2: you are welcome
mbarkhau: yes that's one thing the wiki is missing, feedback for all the edits are made
mbarkhau: great work
epastore: Oh... one other thing I forgot to mention about forming an organization. I forget who originally pointed it out, but has anyone else noticed MyFootballClub?
epastore: They are an internet community which owns an English soccer/football club
matiasBatto2: maybe we can mail the creator
epastore: There may be something we can model there
epastore: Yeah; I'll try to do that
mbarkhau: yes but they also are a registerd legal entity
matiasBatto2: and offer him/her metascore
RonSk: Did the group assembled here at this meeting resolve anything regarding forming an official organization>
epastore: True, Manuel... but I love the fact of their mere existence
epastore: Ron, the basic answer was... more study is needed. :)
mbarkhau: but i think we are moving in that direction
mbarkhau: the question seems to be more about where and how
epastore: We are going to look into the requirements for forming in several different countries, and then consider forming in one or maybe all of them
fabe: me 2 i think we may be able to learn much from them
mbarkhau: but no final decision so far
RonSk: Does anyone in this group have the legal expertise regarding such a proposition?
epastore: I don't think so. Though Mark (from a different project) offered to share his company's application for us to model
mbarkhau: mark may be helpful in that regard, at least on the us side
epastore: Being in DC, you would think I could tap some resources here to get help, but most I have talked to are more than happy to answer questions but explicitly won't offer legal advice
fabe: brb
epastore: OK, I gotta go now.
RonSk: Are you considering the creation of a not-for-profit, or something else entirely?
epastore: It has been great talking with you all
RonSk: Ok, speak with ya next time, Ed.
mbarkhau: bye
matiasBatto2: good bye
epastore left the room (quit: ).
gemane: bye
RonSk: So long, all...catch you next time.
RonSk left the room.
matiasBatto2: by the way, Michael Allan said something about semantic web in a message to the list some days ago
matiasBatto2: and i have a programmer friend that is working on that
matiasBatto2: i think he'll want to participate if metascore goes semantic
gemane: I'm also leaving, bye
mbarkhau: hmm, semantic web is not a focus in our project so far
matiasBatto2: bye
gemane left the room (quit: "Konversation terminated!").
mbarkhau: what is he working on?
mbarkhau: I'm not sure how to incoporate it to be honest
mbarkhau: has he seen the project?
matiasBatto2: he has a group in the university where he studies that promotes semantic web
matiasBatto2: and liked a lot the project when i showed it to him
mbarkhau: well if he's interested, could you ask him to get in touch so we can discuss if there is a possibility for collaboration?
RonSk [] entered the room.
matiasBatto2: yes, i'll tell him
RonSk: Ok, I know how to connect now. Next time, I'll be ready.
mbarkhau: =)
matiasBatto2: haha
matiasBatto2: i'm leaving too, good bye
mbarkhau: bye
matiasBatto2 left the room (quit: " ajax IRC Client").
mbarkhau: btw nobody has to leave, everybody is welcome to stay as long as they have their computer on :)
RonSk: Were there a lot more people here earlier?
mbarkhau: i think ca 10-15