Publication of CC members names and addresses – my thoughts

There is currently debate about publishing community council members’ contact details. The following is based on my experience of working with 3 community councils for many years, and examining every CC website I could find in 2012 and 2014. From this, I’d advocate:

  • publishing member’s names and roles. Ideally these would be accompanied with photos, as in this example. This could make CC members seem more real and approachable.
  • each CC having at least one email address, perhaps something like hello@name_of_CC.gov.uk
  • ideally, each CC having addresses for its office-bearers, especially the secretary.
    • This would keep CC emails separate from personal emails, help ensure that the public can continue to contact the CC when office-bearers move on, and help ensure that people who have retired no longer receive CC emails.
  • have all CC members’ personal addresses in a Google Group, MailChimp list or similar, so that it is easy to send emails to all CC members. (Reply-all can be a pain, not least because such recipient lists easily get out of date.) Such a list would have office-bearer’s CC email addresses rather than their personal ones.
  • NOT have CC email addresses for each member (such as first name.lastname@name_of_CC.org.uk). One of my CCs asked me to set this up. It increased costs slightly, took a long time to set up, was a pain to show a number of members how to configure their computers and mobile devices to use these addresses, and the addresses are hardly used. (Most members do not need to email as CCllrs.)
  • NOT publishing personal contact details such as personal email and physical addresses.

So what have I got wrong? Shout at me via the comments!

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Online Identity Assurance stakeholder meeting: 31 October 2018

Being involved, no matter how tangentially, with the Scottish Government’s work on online identity assurance (OIA) is important to me for at least five reasons.

  1. I want government to be efficient, and that means using digital techniques when possible and rational.
  2. While pursuing that aim, government must pay great heed to privacy and security. This is mostly because government has (in theory) great power to do good and do harm. (NB I do not believe that the current SG intends to do harm.)
  3. There will always be people who cannot use digital techniques. This may be because  they don’t know how just now. This may be because they will always lack the mental capacity to know how. This may be because they do not wish to learn how: either they see nothing in it for them, or the potential gains are not worth the time and money outlays for them. And of course it may be because they don’t have a roof over their heads, let alone expensive internet devices.
  4. I’m a social informatics researcher – anything in the interfaces between IT and society interests me.
  5. My particular research niche is IT in hyperlocal democracy, and there are explicit links between identity and the right to vote. 

The first OIA stakeholder event I attended (March 2018) is written up here. The second (19 June) is written up here.

For the 3rd event (31 March), I used a different tactic – I live-tweeted as well as I could, then collected tweets and other snippets using Wakelet. (This is a successor to Storify, recommended by the fab Leah Lockhart on advice from Ross McCulloch.)

So, so long as Wakelet permits it, my OIA wakelet is here. Comments are very welcome!

So what has Bruce been up to recently?

Part of an occasional series of posts to try to show that I don’t lie around all day! This post covers the time since we got back from honeymoon in early September.  

At Napier

  • Working with my colleague Wegene Demeke on the initiation of a project to investigate some aspects of participatory budgeting (PB) in São Paulo [Wikipedia], Brazil. We’re particularly interested in whether and how PB benefits the very poor. This is going to be fun, not least because neither Wegene nor I speak Portuguese, but we have some excellent partners at the University of São Paulo.
  • Working with the Prof on a funding bid for some networking events. That’s ‘networking’ in the sense of connecting humans, not ‘plumbing‘! The bid has been submitted but we won’t know whether we’ve been successful for a while, so watch this space!
  • Taking part in a follow-up to research by the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) on community councils.
  • Marking courseworks for an undergraduate course.
  • Drafting an idea for some public engagement/democracy work. Again, watch this space!

Elsewhere

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RIVAL (Research Impact Value and LIS) #lis_rival

I really enjoyed helping create this event, even though I was a bit nervous because during much of the organisation, the prof was on medical leave and about a week before the event, my left leg started playing very painful silly buggers.

Community, Knowledge, Connections

Hazel Hall and Bruce Ryan recently organised a very successful one-day event bringing together Library and Information Science researchers, users, and end-user beneficiaries to explore the impact and value of LIS research to services delivery in practice. The event aimed to encourage the strengthening of links between these interacting communities, to help narrow gaps between LIS research and practice, and to lay the ground for future research-related support and collaborations across the sector.

This post starts with access to the presentation slides and videos, followed by brief outlines of each presentation.

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Investigating the online and offline contexts of day-to-day democracy as participation spaces: newly published research by Ella Taylor-Smith and Colin Smith

Hazel Hall

Information, Communication and Society coverCongratulations to Centre for Social Informatics colleagues Dr Ella Taylor-Smith and Dr Colin Smith on the publication of their article ‘Investigating the online and offline contexts of day-to-day democracy as participation spaces’ in Information, Communication and Society.

The main theme of the article is citizen-led participation in democracy, and the online and offline spaces – introduced as ‘participation space’ – in which people work together to influence those in power, and to improve their communities. The findings draw upon a sociotechnical analysis of data from three case studies to expose the relationship between activities of local, grassroots democracy and the characteristics of the online and offline spaces in which it occurs.

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Some thoughts on e-voting

This post is inspired by my taking part in the Open Rights Group (Scotland)‘s e-voting round-table in February, and the Scottish Government’s Online Identity Assurance‘show and tell’ in March, and by a seminar by Professor Brian Detlor last week. (My notes from the ORG’s round-table should be available on the Open Government Network website. I’ve also posted them on my personal blog.) In this post, I assume that e-voting would be run on central servers, but votes would be cast via software running on personal phones, tablets and computers. Continue reading

Some thoughts on a seminar by Professor Brian Detlor

I had the privilege of attending two seminars by Professor Brian Detlor last week. The first of these, at iDocQ 2018, recounted Brian’s work on Digital Storytelling. However, this post is about my reaction to his seminar to the School of Computing on Promoting Digital Literacy: A Social Lab Approach.

This post is the first of two – the second will be an attempt to crystallise my thoughts about e-voting that bubbled up after Brian’s seminar. However, for now, this post is an attempt to show why Brian’s seminar was such a positive experience for me, but it is not an attempt to record all that Brian said. My reactions are in blockquotes. Continue reading