A subtweet from a small town queer

So, I help produce an art and music campout that happens in California every summer. I’m on the People team (dealing with conflict, consent violations, etc) and am a general coordinator for the overall event. I’ve done this on and off for about 5 years of the 18 years it’s been running. And after this year, I have to say: are the straights and younguns ok? This entire entry is a subtweet to both straight people and young people who seem to think they can’t be in community with their exes.

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Calling artists and authors to help with a response zine!

As some of you know, I have cared about crisis response for a long time. And now, as a side project, as furthered recently at my birthday conference, I’m working on a guide for the formal sector to interact with the informal. I’m also starting work on a zine for informal groups to know what’s up in times of crisis. The informal groups are harder to reach as you don’t know who they are in advance, and so our goal is to make this zine something the formal sector is willing to hand off, something that is findable online, and something that activist groups might seek out themselves in advance.

I’m really excited about it, but it’s also a LOT of work. And I’m not the only person with writing or artistry skills out there, so I’d like to use this as an opportunity to commission some work. There’s a form at the bottom of this blog post to sign up for a section if you’re interested. What follows immediately are short write-ups of areas I think need better words and/or a piece of art to express.

Basics of response

Reviewing in an informal way things about WASH and food safety, plus common sense for physical safety for collapsed buildings (unit 7) etc. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast, it’s worth moving carefully. Would require some independent research to figure out what is being detailed by official sources.

Data safety

You’ll be setting up some basic things immediately – a place to chat (mailing list, Signal group, etc) and a place to store information (wiki, Google Drive, etc). When a crisis first kicks off, data is gathered fast and loose, and access is given to anyone who might be able to help. That is expected and we get it. However, after time wears on and things stabilize a bit, some thought needs to be given to data retention and security, including who has access to what.

Limit how many administrators you have. Use secure-enough tools, limit who has access, send over encrypted channels. Retrofitting is a pain, but is worth the pain. Do your best in the moment, without sacrificing efficacy.

This would be a conversation we have to flesh out details you might be interested in and to highlight what I think is important and reasonable here.

Sustainability & leadership

At odds with a do-acracy, it makes more sense to select each other for leadership positions. Be wary of narcissism, usually indicated by someone wanting full ownership of something. Quiet, competent leaders are great in American cultures. This is something for conversation if you don’t already have a background here.

Self and community care

Support your leaders, IE if they’re a single parent, get them child care support while they coordinate. Taking at least one day off a week is necessary. You cannot go all out indefinitely, and your work will suffer if you try to. Rotation of duties is an excellent way to build resilience of responsibility in your community and to strengthen things by knowledge sharing. Feeding the group is important work. Etc. This would be great for someone passionate about governance structures and self care. Happy to have conversations about this and the sub topics to deepen the thinking here, but if you’re already familiar with self organizing structures, you’ll have a great start.


Documentation often seems like the BIGGEST waste of time, but it is SO important. It will help you with handoff to other people (sustainability), it will help you communicate and coordinate with other groups (impact), and it will help you tell your story later (learning). Share outward as much and as often as you can handle, it will help everyone, and they in turn can help you.

A documentarian can be see as an apprentice to a role, writing down what they’ll do as they learn about it. This builds resilience in your group in multiple ways.

Happy to have a conversation about this one, but if you already love libraries and/or wikis, you’re probably set here.

Dealing with money

Eventually, someone will probably want to give you money, or you’ll start running into ways that you’d like to get money to spend on certain things rather than always coordinating material goods directly. Some groups, like Occupy Sandy, just estimate that they’d like 10% to fraud and that it would cost 15% in overhead to track, and so just gave away cash to projects based on donations flowing in. Other groups, like Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, ended up forming a 501c3 so they could better accept funds to pay for people’s airline tickets. Each comes with risks and benefits. This would be a conversation with me and some other folks to get you set up on models and information.

Failure modes

Formalizing your group in different ways (often done to deal with the money problem) leads to different types of failure. People who form businesses (disaster capitalism) usually end up failing as a business because they thought their one-off crisis lessons applied everywhere else. Right-wing response groups over optimize for centralizing power, especially when things are going sideways, which leads to bits of the group breaking off to do their own things. Leftist response groups fail to build consensus around the next actions to take and dissolve. A conversation can be had here.

Some tips for interacting successfully with the formal sector

Like it or not, the formal sector is probably going to show up at some point and try to deploy to your area. Here are things to know about how they work and what they expect that can help everything run more smoothly. I’d write the intro to this section, but the subsections can all be conversations if they’re not clear enough already.

Have a person the formal sector can talk to

A broker liaison could be someone who has done CERT training or that otherwise has worked within a command structure before. They should be open to understanding where the formal groups are coming from, but firm in what will and won’t be accepted by the community. They will need to be available for lots of informational meetings. This is how the formal sector thinks of these folks. If someone wants to prepare for this in advance, FEMA’s independent study is great.

Flying drones

Drones are a really great way of checking out your area to see what is going on. However, if any planes are up in the air, the drones have to come down. Low flying planes are used to take photography for damage assessments to see where resources should be sent, as well as being used occasionally to deliver supplies, so they’re an important part of response and shouldn’t be interfered with (unless you’re in an adversarial environment).

Rule of thumb

If there is a SERIOUS safety issue, like a hazardous spill, if you cannot cover the entire area from view while holding up your thumb, you are too close.

Where and how your formal sector colleagues can talk with you

Formal entities can (and should!) be held accountable for decisions they make and actions they take. This means all communication has to be audit-able, which means they can’t talk to you on something like Signal. Their systems are also often locked down so they can’t install the latest and greatest new collaboration tool. Being willing to join them where they’re at (if they can get you an account) and/or to find new third places is a key component to opening up communication.

Interested in helping out?

Interested? Here’s a form to fill out to indicate interest! I’d love to see responses in by July 22nd. When estimating, please be kind to yourself, but while I’m making Bay Area money (NOT software engineer money), I also have a kid and stuff. I have worked as a contracting artist before and will limit myself to 2 revision rounds on each thing. You will absolutely be credited in the zine. You’re welcome to reach out to willow dot be el zero zero at gmail if you have any questions or want to see how progress is going.

Where the Internet went Wrong

The Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society had its 25 year reunion this past week. I spent two years with BKC, one as an affiliate and one as a fellow. Between that and being at the Center for Civic Media, I had some of the most stimulating years of my life to date. My understanding of the world and my place in it transformed to something more nuanced but also more powerful. And while I’ve lost touch with some of the folks, many of us still talk.

At the reunion, things were generally framed as past, present, future; with the breakout groups and lunch convenings I loved in my time there. The main thread that came out through most of the conversations, was “what did we get wrong?” Or perhaps in our more gracious moments, “what have we learned?” In that context, there were a few recurring themes in the circles I ran in for the 2 days of the conference:

  • Defending free speech and exclusion of regulating speech didn’t land us where we expected
  • Lack of intersectionality and limiting who has a seat at the table has constrained what we can learn and do
  • Influence in law and regulation not transferring sufficiently to market forces left us with blind spots.
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The expression of anger

One of my characteristics I’m most proud of is how even-keeled I am. It served me well in disaster response, it’s served me well in interpersonal dynamics, it’s served me well at work. But it wasn’t always the case – I was a very angry child, and I’ve had to actively learn to be calm through self-discipline, meditation, and empathy.

I had good examples in this – I have never heard either of my parents so much as raise their voices. The only slammed doors in the house were from my brother or me being angry, and then getting grounded for it. We are good Midwestern quiet people.

However, now, when I get angry, I immediately shift into must-win-at-all-costs-including-being-mean mode. I may be quiet, but I can be a cutting jerk.

I don’t trust a relationship until I’ve been in a disagreement with the person. How people navigate a misunderstanding or difficulty, and whether or not they can fight fair with each other, is vital to me knowing if a relationship is sustainable or not. So when Reed and I had our first disagreement, it was interesting. He is a big dude, and he emotes a LOT. (This is one of the many reasons why I love him – he cannot hide how he is actually doing, so I have no anxiety about anticipating what’s going on with him.) This didn’t scare me, as I can handle myself physically (he would never actually hurt anyone, but it can still be scary to have a big human waving their arms with a raised voice). And when I got mean, he responded with “do you really mean that?” which I didn’t. So we enable the other person to fight fair with us. It works out well.

But as our relationship continued on, I started to judge Reed more for his expression of anger. He would slam doors, yell (not at me or anyone else), and stomp. It seemed like a loss of control to me. Initially, I thought it was just the price of admission and I could deal with it. But when we had a kid, I didn’t want the behavior modeled. In talking about it, Reed also didn’t want the holding in of anger (and just getting mean instead) to be modeled for Locke. So we had to figure something out.

In talking to my therapist, friends, and Reed more, the consensus has been that expressing anger, so long as it isn’t directed at someone, is actually healthy. My Midwestern sensibilities are shook.

So for Reed, we have a ranked list of things that are always ok to do, things that are on me to try to work on being ok with, things that should really be avoided, and things that are never ok. He’s done a good job of adhering to the list, and now instead of responding to him expressing anger with “please stop doing that,” I say something like “thank you for picking from the top of the list.” For me, I’m working on muttering angry things when no one can hear, and writing angry emails but not sending them. We’re both making progress at meeting each other.

It still feels like a loss of control, but also just being quiet jerk when I’m angry isn’t a reasonable reaction, either. Eager to hear more thoughts on this topic if anyone has them.

Distributed playbook

While I was at Truss, I helped move us from a dozen people in the Bay Area to nearly a hundred across 20 states. Through monthly meetings to run experiments in improving our practices, we came up with the Distributed Playbook. It’s since changed format enough that I missed the original version, so I’ve ported it over from Github to a page on this blog. It, along with the onboarding guide, are two of the things of which I’m most proud from my time at Truss. Hope they can help you out, too!

Polyam Interviews : Noah

I’ve been navigating coming out as poly to my nuclear family and to my workplace for the past few years. I think we’re in a moment similar to the LGBT coming out, and I wanted a snapshot of how people are experiencing coming out as poly to different people in their lives. I think this is important to build solidarity and visibility. It’s not to tell anyone how to do anything, but I hope you find it useful in your journeys.

This is an interview with Noah, roughly transcribed and then lightly edited (so maintains the first person voice). It is posted here with his permission.

Tell me a little about yourself

About to turn 47. Straight white cis dude. Spent the first 25 and change years in Portland, the next 20 or so in Seattle. Married for 6.5 years in a house with my wife, some housemates, and cats. I’ve been with my girlfriend, who is married with 2 kids, for 13.5 years. I have another girlfriend of 7.5 years, she’s married with one kid and recently gave birth to a surrogate baby.

What drives you?

I like other people to have good experiences. Informed my career as a user experience designer. Realized in my early 20s I spent most of my life critiquing designs and systems thinking “why did they make that hard?” spend a lot of time thinking about how things can be better or more easily used to make people happier.

What is your relationship style?

I have less distaste for the term “polyamory” than I did 10 years ago. Representatives of polyamory 18 years ago were a lot more prostheletizey and nerdy. I refer to myself as “open” or “nonmonogamous,” but no longer correct people. The first edition of The Ethical Slut turned a lot of people off because it was so proscriptive and holier than thou. At its core, most of it was about understanding your own needs and communicating them.

My wife and I have romantic and physical relationships with more people than each other. From friends we snuggle with, to party makeouts (although no one goes to parties or makes out with strangers anymore). Boyfriends and girlfriends we have relationships with.

Who have you come out to?

Have a friend group with lots of nonmonogamous people in it, I’ve been out with friends for a long time. I formally claimed the lable in the early 2000s, maybe 2003, although I had shrug-why-not tendencies before that. Not really jealous or possessive in my life before that.

Came out to my parents in a formal way in about 2010. Rest of family formally on our engagement announcement. Came out online, on the Twitter I use professionally in 2012. That counts as everybody, right?

Anyone you want to come out to but haven’t yet?

Marginally less cavalier in professional environments. Will tell coworkers, though not everyone all at once. For instance, if someone is asking why I was in Iceland, I’ll tell them I was there with my girlfriend, that it’s ok that you know, ok that you tell others. Telling one or two rather than broadcast. Tell them how long I’ve been out.

No one I’m specifically not telling. There are folk who may have not yet heard. But been with my girlfriend 13 years, so…

In short, there are some coworkers who haven’t heard yet.

Anything from this relationship style that applies to the rest of life?

Mostly try to be an intentional communicator, which I now only screw up sometimes. In my increasing age and awareness, becoming even more aware of consent and power dynamics in all things. Trying to remain cognizant and intentional about those issues.

Anything else you want to talk about?

Repeat an observation that many people have had: conversations nonmonogamous people have had about consent and risks of spending time with people have come in handy this year. What is my risk profile and risk profile of those around me? Seems like an unexpected benefit right now.

Polyam Interviews : Tilde

I’ve been navigating coming out as poly to my nuclear family and to my workplace for the past few years. I think we’re in a moment similar to the LGBT coming out, and I wanted a snapshot of how people are experiencing coming out as poly to different people in their lives. I think this is important to build solidarity and visibility. It’s not to tell anyone how to do anything, but I hope you find it useful in your journeys.

This is an interview with Tilde, roughly transcribed and then lightly edited (so maintains the first person voice). It is posted here with their permission.

Tell me a little about yourself

My name is Tilde, I use they/them pronouns, I’m an artist, activist, and engineer. I live in SF.

What drives you?

I want to leave the world a little better than I found it. Motivated by helping people, by trying to create joy and connection.

What is your relationship style?

I’m practicing nonhierarchical nonmonogamy. Trendy thing is to call it “relationship anarchy” but I think some people are using that term incorrectly. Anarchy is a political philosophy, and relationship anarchy would be applying that to relationships as well. While I identify with anarchism, I don’t feel like I’m conversant enough in political theory to confidently call myself an anarchist, so I probably shouldn’t call myself relationship anarchist either.

What I do is let every relationship find its own level, and don’t make agreements unless everyone impacted by the agreement is able to negotiate.

Who did you come out to?

I first tried nonmonogamy at age 18. I heard about it on usenet, and it made sense to me intuitively. How much I like one person doesn’t have anything to do with how much I like this other person. About a year into my first relationship, my girlfriend wanted to bring home another girl and I was like “awesome” and we ended up in a triad. I came out and got some major side eye from people I worked with at a grocery store but went with it anyway.

We broke up and people responded really negatively, “you couldn’t possibly have thought that would work.” I internalized that, and it took  me a few years to give nonmonogamy another try. Now it’s a big part of my identity, values, and life.

Recently I feel like I’ve come out a second time. Although my relationship style is nonhierarchical, for the past 11 years I had one partner that I was clearly closer to than all others, which made it easier to pass as monogamous. But now I have 3 people who are really important to me. Figuring out how to talk about that to make it legible without giving too much detail or making people think I’m hitting on them has been tricky. I used to lead with “this might be weird but…” but that magnified the awkwardness. Now I try to be casual (“my partners and I went to the beach this weekend” and just trust myself to read the room.

Anyone you want to come out to but haven’t yet?

Don’t think so – I’m out to everyone who’s super important to me. Biggest one was my dad. I came out to him maybe 5 years ago, but didn’t feel like he got it. More recently I told him I wanted to share more details about my partners, but I wasn’t sure he was comfortable with that. It was a very good conversation. He said he had some bias against nonmonogamy because he’s less familiar with it, but that the most important thing to him was my happiness, and he wanted to hear more about my partners. 

I’m out on the internet, because people can unfollow me if they don’t want to hear about it. 

Anything from this relationship style that applies to the rest of life?

The ability to hold multiple viewpoints in my head, negotiate, mediate conflicts, and calendar things, are very useful in a business context. I feel like I could write a whole blog post about how nonmonogamy skills have boosted my career.

Practicing nonmonogamy helped me become a secure person. Sustainable nonmonogamy requires trusting that my partners are with me because they want to be. It took a lot of work to develop that trust, and the belief that I deserve love. This work might have happened otherwise, but nonmonogamy sped the process along.

Anything else you want to talk about?

I don’t think nonmonogamy is for everyone, I’m not a polyamory evangelist. My hope for the future is that more relationship styles will be normalized, and we’ll have more tools for support for people who want to try out alternative relationship styles. At the end of the day, I want more options, freedom and acceptance for everyone.

Polenesian people have asked polyamorous people to spell out “polyamorous,” so please do that for the blog and URL.

Polyam Interviews : Rowan

I’ve been navigating coming out as poly to my nuclear family and to my workplace for the past few years. I think we’re in a moment similar to the LGBT coming out, and I wanted a snapshot of how people are experiencing coming out as poly to different people in their lives. I think this is important to build solidarity and visibility. It’s not to tell anyone how to do anything, but I hope you find it useful in your journeys.

This is an interview with Rowan, roughly transcribed and then lightly edited (so maintains the first person voice). It is posted here with their permission.

Tell me a little about yourself

I’m 31, and have been poly since I was 15. Moved to the Bay Area from Philadelphia 6 years ago. I’m a therapist and have been for 4ish years, but working in mental health before then, as well. I like cats. I think that attachment work around poly is really interesting, how different styles show up with different partners. Being transmasc is a thing I like people to know about me.

What drives you?

First thing that comes up for me is a memory of when I was 18 and had been hospitalized for a couple weeks for being suicidal. I remember looking out the window of the inpatient facility. It was fall, end of November, leaves changing, and I remember apologizing to the trees for not realizing how beautiful life was. 

Finding beauty in things that are dying drives me. Impermanence. Recognizing that things are not just what people say they are. I find hope in looking at things in a new way. Things aren’t just how they look to be. Finding things outside of what I’m being told.

What is your relationship style?

No idea currently. I’m some version of single for first time since I was 14. No touch at all right now (COVID). Nonhierarchical poly / kitchen table poly. I like it when my partners and partners’ partners and I can hang out.

Who did you come out to?

Variety of spaces, all been surprisingly welcoming for the most part (at least initially). Favorite place was when I was interviewed for an administrative role conducting intakes at a marriage and couples counseling center. They wanted to be working with nontraditional relationships more. I mentioned I’m poly so I can talk about it with people, and I’m good at Google Calendar. Got the job. 

With my sister, she was confused by it but then advocated to my parents about it. They see it as a way I relate and it’s fine.

My dad was real weird about it. He’s come around a bit after my sister advocated, but a few years ago I had told him I was seeing someone besides the partner I moved across the country. He said it sounds like a good friend you kiss sometimes. I expressed that yeah, but it’s not just that — if you were to come visit, I would want you to meet him. “If I meet him, I’m not going to sleep with him.” Which was weird. Dad was not good about it, when I was dating [one partner] and we visited NY. My dad made weird comments about not wanting him in the house because I had a primary partner who was not him. Made a comment about how you can do whatever elsewhere. Like if we were a Kosher house and didn’t want ham in the house. Later, something my sister said helped them come around. Kind of jarring because of how enthusiastic they were suddenly.

Mom into astrology in a way I don’t understand. Somewhere in my chart it said something about two partners, which I guess was her way of supporting it.

Cousins have been welcoming of my seeing multiple people. One cousin was the first person I told about dating a second partner when I was 17.

That cousin’s sister, when I told her about having multiple partners said some of their friends in Georgia did that.

Started telling people around 15 was “[Boyfriend] and I are both attracted to other girls so we work on that in our relationship.”

The more people you know, the more people you come out to.

Anyone you want to come out to but haven’t yet?

No. A few clients I’m out to because they’re also non-monogomous, and it can get incestful so we need to avoid that. Heard stories of people needing to navigate being at a play party in close proximity to a client’s partner or close friend or something. I only look at parties that have a guest list. Some play parties ask who your therapist is on the registration (I can’t list my clients but they can list me because confidentiality).

Anything from this relationship style that applies to the rest of life?

Promotes open communication in a way that seems unusual for people who have ideas of not even recognizing they’re taking parts of relationships for granted. Don’t know if it’s queer or poly or both to not know if you’re dating someone or not. On the East Coast it shows up differently. West Coast people assume they’re dates more often. 

Letting people know how you feel. Interesting that some people use “commitment” and “monogamous” as synonyms. I have been very strongly committed to multiple people. Feels sad to equate those two. Focusing so much of your attention and time on one person who is not your self, extending yourself to just one person sounds really sad in the way I hear about it. Can’t imagine being monogamous and therapist, the amount of care and attention I have for my clients. They don’t know much about me, but I care about them, can’t imagine how to do that from a monogamous framework.

I connect more with “nonmonogomous” than with “polyamorous” because of some of the connotations of “poly.” 

But I’ve been this way for so long I can’t understand the impact on other aspects of life? The only monogamous relationship I’ve been in was also the only abusive relationship I’ve been in.

Anything else you want to talk about?

One monogamous relationship that feels relevant. I remember telling him I prefer seeing multiple people, how I understood relationships. When we started seeing each other, I was also seeing someone in prison, but had to break up with him. When I said I’d like to see other people besides you, this feels limiting. I’m also someone who is often assumed to be flirting so ended up not saying a lot while we were dating so it wouldn’t seem like I was flirting with people. He said poly relationships don’t work out, but none of his mono relationships had worked out before. He even said to me, “I don’t know why you’re so proud of having been a slut.” I’m comfortable with it, but I don’t know if I’d go so far as to be proud of it. People are fun, sex is fun. Nonomonogy seen as being about sex, but it’s not for me at all. About relating with people in a way that allows for it to be a possibility. Differing emotional depths allowed in relationships. Lot of assumptions made that I can date multiple people at once, what does that say about your relationships and how to attach to people?

There’s often a focus on people not being jealous. Jealousy is a real feeling. Have it, look at it. I sound like a California therapist. What are you feeling jealous of, what is lacking? It’s ok to have jealousy and to explore it. Ok to not have jealousy. Trying to turn all jealousy into compersion is dumb.

RecoveryCon Report Out

Last weekend RecoveryCon happened, a distributed conference to examine how we can come out of this pandemic better than we were before. A blog post on how the facilitation happened already got posted, and now that the participants have approved the notes for public viewing, here they are, followed also by our Joy Gallery (things that are bringing us joy right now).


These are very rough notes from session report-outs, linking to the track’s notes doc.

Supply chain: How we can organize the supply chain for emergencies. What’s going wrong right now, how it can get better. Anarchist organizations and organizing. Challenges of adoption and disseminating information to get people to use the system. Mechanisms that have prevented organizations from centralizing too much power.

Resilient organizations: gentler with ourselves and each other. This is unprecedented, we’re communicating differently. Internalize, feel it, express. How different organizations are trying to adapt. Yearning to connect, be of service. Not everyone is online. Social innovation, getting through the day. Invitation as a way to communicate. Going from community to life organizing and coaching.

Reclaiming streets: How our streets are changed right now, how to sustain those places. Not just pipes to get places. Less use of public transit from this pandemic but bikes as key. Political will to keep this momentum up. How can we take these experiments and make them more human scale, open to all, plan and build?

Putting your own mask on first: Make spaces meet basic need. Shit, sleep, eat. Many people are relocating right now which is not great. Get a bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen into a reasonable state. Bathrooms often only place you can be alone and vulnerable. These spaces are important. Change concept of success – instead of “hit these things or you’ve failed” – but instead “what is the smallest increment on the way to a goal you can be proud of? Cultivating joy and satisfaction. 

Resilience & Rehabilitation: Incarceration, systems and narratives in place that are very broken. Are the majority of people in the state system convicted of violent crimes? Internalized the narrative of what the system is and who’s in it, why and how they’re there, what should happen after. Parole is really social death, people go back to prison because of parole violations not because of committing another crime. Showed a video clip. And interventions of restorative and transformative justice. Focus on healing process for survivors. 

End of capitalism: Weird, deadly time we’re in. Need to look at new models already out there for a global context. US, UK are grappling with things that aren’t new. Patterns from elsewhere in the world. Think about transfers in one direction, need to go in other directions as well. Imagine alternatives. How do we change incentives? Challenge false dichotomies. Cooperative buy-outs.

How are we collaborative?: How we’ve collaborated during this time. Moving collaboration entirely online, better than half on half off. Not having to travel but still having access. Challenges of everything being online. Divide between digital and non digital conversation. Everyone has to contribute. If there’s a digital divide it’s difficult. STructure so everyone can participate. How things can improve: siloed and fragmented, lots of work within single communities. Conferences like this help, but not clear how this scales. How do we get the right people to talk at the right time?

Campuses: Many US campuses on path to closure. Physical space, use for space that is changing and not what the market structures would deem. Could we build with intention and in community? Concepts of education, pulling away from a system that encourages disparity. Experiences to the table. Book recommendations. Paths forward to making and taking space, like squatters’ rights. Fighting entrenched class structures. How to not need to feel productive at all times.

Data for all: Questioning assumption that data is record of record, faithful construction of reality. Constructed, produced. Produced in all types of new ways we don’t know the repercussions of. Dominant narrative of data generating new insights and how to meet those needs, but also new ways for data to control us without our consent. Concentrated interests extracting value out of us and our systems. Even when I’m presented with a request for consent, I don’t know, don’t have a meaningful way to opt out. Our paradigm of more data should shift from individual consent to harm reduction. Do we need new kinds of institutions to mediate these discussions?

What art is giving you visions for the future you want? How can creativity be part of future-crafting? Ways art can bring our imaginations closer to what another world could look like. Star Trek, UKL. Art in community, collaborative process being deeply fueling, esp with other collaborative processes. Meaning making and community building of having a physical object. Street art as assertion of people in space. Dystopian art as highlighting or telling us what we want to avoid?

Fun, creative, and inspiring opportunities for the future of [digital] communications/socializing more vulnerable populations participating. Rope people into ways we want to connect online. Serendipity of real world is missing. Town Online is trying to mimic that, but not really there yet. How we can get to conversations, like rooms for conversations like a house. Brackets and multithreading in chats to track topics. Using video chat with shared activity without expectation of eye contact. How to emote with avatars? Changing video call backgrounds as framing conversations. Annotation as something everyone can contribute to

How do we plan for a post-scarcity society within a society that is collapsing? What is hope? Redefining hope, going from this model of “everything will be ok in a few months” versus what I can have hope in today. Changes expectations and outputs of what you’re capable of. Prepper talk. Differences based on environment, and who is around. Unevenness of post scarcity. How unevenly distributed these crises are. We’ve seen alternative systems of sharing value, but it happens at small scales and in homogeneous places. I believe other worlds are possible, but I don’t see a path towards the multicultural world I want to live in. Security in a world of collapse feels bubbly.

We were all scared to show up. There’s not a lot of capacity to do things, including for the organizers and facilitators. But we’re glad we did.

Joy Gallery

  • Bookcases! Lots of bookcases: https://twitter.com/BCredibility/
  • Old Oakland Railways –
  • Gardening. And the badgers.
  • Listening to the wind in the trees
  • Putting a sprig of rosemary or lavender in my mask as I talk a walk in nature
  • sunset on the rooftop (I’m trying to make a ritual of it)
  • Micro moments to fill in
  • Vicarious cat interactions through lots of videos/tiktok compilations
  • Seeing people’s rooms/homes in the backgrounds and getting to know them in that way
    • This piñata head:  
  • The poetry of Keetje Kuipers (example)
  • Somehow ended up in an all canadian group
  • Playing scrabble with my best friends – i have won 1 game of 700. Keep on 
  • Art – making beauty out of struggle
  • Convening spaces for community across the world – humanitarian wise. It is hard but people really appreciate it
  • Reconnecting with old friends, virtual hangouts
  • These Twitter threads:https://twitter.com/kylosbarechest/status/1264208265245683712
  • https://twitter.com/vilruse/status/1263891922168545281
  • I (Zephyr) have been putting out a small newsletter every Friday of only good/cute/queer/hopeful things – https://tinyletter.com/zalsoa
  • MINECRAFT (building huge group projects with friends)
  • Being with my son
  • Being able to enjoy my art installment around my nome Meural 
  • Reconnecting, finding my grounding and sense of place 
  • Being outside, hiking, connecting with my friends

What’s bringing you joy right now?

Facilitating a distributed conference

I was pretty sure it was going to be a disaster the day before. Hell, the week before. Having multiple tracks of participatory sessions meant that people would need to move from video conference link to video conference link. We didn’t have a shared chat space consistent across all the “rooms,” and I was anxious to go to other links myself to gather people, leaving the core room unattended.

It could have been terrible. Instead, RecoveryCon was a smashing success, with people joining from all over the US, plus the UK, Germany, and Turkey. We ran (mostly) on time. We shared back what had happened in sessions. We cried a bit together. And we ended 3 minutes early.

Another blog post will happen soon with a summary of sessions, links to notes, and our Joy Gallery; but for now I wanted to tell you about facilitating a multi-track open-spaces style event. A caveat that a high proportion of my friends are facilitators and/or are tech savvy. YMMV.

The logistics

We had as many video conference “rooms” as we had tracks. This will come into play with the agenda. One “room” should be both a track and also where you start / regroup to. This means anyone coming to the conference at weird times is swept up in a session without extra overhead. It also gives a consistent sense of a “common room” that people know to go to if they get lost or booted or whatever.

Start a notes doc for each track, including headers for each session and reminders of when to come back to the main room. That way, folk don’t need to ask about it. It will be a bit of a Thing when times change and you have to go update each doc, but oftentimes folk will have already updated it for you. You will be able to see this in the notes doc when the content overview post goes up.

If I were going to do this again, I would have a chat of some kind with the session leads and facilitators to coordinate and remind about coming back. This time it worked out great, tho!

The agenda

This was bananas to me. I am in the school of facilitation that does not share the agenda for an event, but rather encourages people to be fully present by asking them to trust me and giving folk whatever comes next as it happens. This time, I shared a spreadsheet of when various things were going to happen. This spreadsheet also provided a source of truth so far as links to video conference rooms and notes docs so folk could self-sort.

All sessions ended up being the same length of time, which was different than originally planned. I tried to add in complexity where it wasn’t needed, and we organically got back to a simpler state.

Expectation setting

In addition to a version of the participant guidelines from Aspiration I give (and was reminded to do so this time — thank you), we also had the expectation of all watching the clock together, and of returning to the main room. I asked at least once on each front for those to be repeated back to me, and made the main room clear in the communications emails sent out to attendees.

We also set the expectation of collaborative note taking as active listening and of reporting back on sessions so folk who went elsewhere still felt like they got something out of the sessions they missed.

Thank you

Thank you to all the amazing folk who came to RecoveryCon and made it what it was. Special shout out to Greg, for helping with organizing; to Liz, for having boundaries; to Adrienne and Heather for facilitating tracks; and to Cheryl, Beatriz, Nathan, sevine, Julie, Courtney, Lou, Ahmet, B, and two other folk I missed for leading sessions.