Sunday October 26 2005 Meeting Notes

First of I just want to say that I am sorry for the delay in forwarding these notes to all of you who missed the meeting and to those who were there as a reference point. Also sorry if this comes to you as a duplicate. I am not sure if everybody is on both of the lists. This is also x-posted on the site under forums.

Sunday's meeting was going to be overwhelmingly about discussing comment censorship on the site as we have gotten a lot of hits since the coverage of Toledo events. Some of the comments to the reports were disturbing to some of us and it was time to discuss our editorial policy and how to deal with neo-nazi in this case, but in the future other comments/content that has hatred and disrespect based on sex, race, gender prescribed all over it.
The second main issue was the Final Draft of our application for the IMC network.
As the conversation evolved, other points have been added and here are the notes:

1) We have discussed our positions on moderating cbusimc material as the editorial collective. We all came to understand each others' desires (and also commitment) for transparency. However this certainly does not mean to allow neo-nazis in this case but in the future other groups that are trying to spread their racist, sexist heterosexist and the like ideologies that are based on hating whole groups of people via indymedia. Indymedia network is designed by and for activists who work for social justice. It is open to anybody to use it as a resource for individual or collective use. It is open for anybody to engage in "intellectual" discussion on issues that are frequently ignored by the mainstream media. It is open for anybody to publish news reports, event promotions, or editorial articles that pertains to common interests. Misuse of this open network will not be tolerated. Recently we have seen 'misuse' and we have taken action to censor them. One way was to unpublish the comments where they will be hidden. We talked about making these comments available to be viewed if desired. This was agreed on in order to be loyal to our promise of trasparency. Adding a function where people can vote on comments as + or - was also discussed. Only the registered users will be able to use this function and all users will be able to view all comments, or only positively rated comments as they wish.
Robbt, as he already sent info out, today implemented this.
We were priveleged to meet up with Muna (who was driving through town) from Richmond, VA indymedia. She has been part of the network for 5 years and is also one of the editors of the national site (www.indymedia.org). We shared our concerns with her, and she provided info on how they dealt with these. Pretty much a zero tolerance policy is what they used after discussing it over and over again. She also mentioned the risk we will be taking if we let hate speech content linger on the site. Our site might have to deal with legal issues. We do not want to risk this nor do we want to alienate groups of people who have been oppressed, marginalized, and alienated by the society for a long time. We want this to be a safe haven for all who want to use it productively. However, it will not be a safe haven for neo-nazis.
This discussion still has spots to fill like: should we spend time on writing a long all inclusive editorial policy based on this? How are we going to rate the comments, as in should we have specific content messages like "informative" "racist" "funny" "sexist" "unrelated"....etc?

2) Final draft just needed to be reformatted. Looks like Rob already took care of it. Is this already sent out to Elle from Cleveland? or is it waiting approval from the listserve?

3) We decided that any content that goes on the front page should be a local event coverage, or an event that a cbusimc crew covered. Other related editorial articles, news additions, updates, and other press coverages should be linked as "related links" on the bottom of the article but not promoted to the front page to keep away from clutter. We said that this is something that editorial collective must take responsibility over and edit articles accordingly. Also there will be a function added to make this easier, as Rob finds time to work on it. Other press articles should always stay in the newswire, because first of all we would like to promote the original journalistic efforts and also there might be some copyright concerns (??). In short other prss will not be aggregated like indymedia sites. It will depend on the people who want to publish it on the site.

4) We talked about the banner. It seemed like all of us were not satisfied with it but were OK in keeping it until something better is created. I personally object to (which i have mentioned various times) the use of the ohio statehouse as a columbus icon. I believe that in an alternative media project the statehouse or any state building for that matter is irrelevant. There are many great sight seeing places we can use in Columbus. We also do not have to have a vison from the city as some of the indymedia sites do not. Jonathan said he will be working on a new one. Anybody else who has time can also provide one where we will look at it and decide as a collective.

5) We talked about having comments presented by their subjects so that there is not a whole list of comments when we click to read them. This will enable everybody to pick and choose what they want to read. No decision was given.

6) Robbt mentioned moving other indymedia site links to the sidebar. He is finding a way to do it. This got us into the discussion of the site design. The arena is open for suggestions and actual working designs if anybody is willing.

7) One function we are missing out on is to 'click to email to a friend' for articles. This is just a mental note for Robbt to work on it as time allows.

8) OUR MEETING TIME CHANGED!! IT IS EVERY SUNDAY NOW!! Instead of 2nd and 4th. We've got a lot to work on. Time is still the same as well as the place (Victorian's at 6). I was going to work on a new flier for this however I still do not have the logo. Robbt said he would email me. This is yet another mental note :) I need the LOGO! Unfortunately I don't have the funds available to print out much, which gets us to the next point.

9) It would be nice to make a budget for our costs as suggested by Jonathan. Looks like we do not need much at the moment. However at the very least xeroxing costs money, which is essentially not a lot but a good amount for most of us. We also need to pay Kenton back since he has been taking care of this through his own funds for far too long now. It would be nice for Kenton to make a cost list for us to add on the budget to get some of his money back.

10) To your and my suprise #9 was the last point that was discussed in the meeting :) I am sorry this was too long, but IT IS WORTH EVERY DAMN MINUTE!!!

I heart cbusimc!

Have a lovely day everybody, away from racist boogieman.

martikal