Hey GVers! This post is a follow up to Community Council 2020 Issue Paper 1: Expanding and diversifying participation  and the Zoom calls we had with Council members on July 23 and 25. I’ll start by summarizing the discussion and the ideas Council members came up with, then move on to specifics about the follow-up meetings we will be holding, and our hopes for the formation of Action Groups where council members will work together to work on their ideas!
Who is missing from GV, and how can we welcome them and their talents?
The initial discussion took place over email and Zoom at the end of July, where we discussed two key questions and brainstormed solutions: Who is missing from the GV community, why are they missing, and what do we miss out on due to their absence? And What are concrete initiatives the GV Community could undertake to welcome those people?
The conversation led to many places we didn’t expect, and participants brought up a wide diversity of groups that are excluded from GV in different ways. To help capture these ideas, we used Google Jamboard  to create a virtual whiteboard full of stickies. Here’s the Jamboard that consolidates the answers to the first question:
The responses range from the need to include media production experts, people who lack the resources to volunteer, to those who don’t speak languages we work in.
Here’s the Jamboard summarizing the second question, about what we can do to welcome these missing groups:
So what do we do with all these ideas? We think the conversation so far is inherently valuable, – forcing us to confront our limitations and keep them in mind for the future. But we also want to help push these issues forward by forming sub-groups dedicated to continuing these discussions and taking action on them!
Follow-Up Topics, Ranked
The first step was to organize the recommendations into what we (i.e. the core team) see as the most urgent and actionable projects: Here’s what we came up with, in the order that we suggest they be tackled. The first three are the ones we’re planning to start working on immediately:
- Review and develop training guides, workshops, mentoring
- Assess how training can be made more accessible and multilingual
- Review ableist assumptions and non-inclusion of people with disabilities
- Prioritize web accessibility (a11y ) web improvements, review and promote accessibility-enhancing writing practices
- Community Talent
- Plan a census/survey of members to develop a database of skills, abilities, and talents in the community
- Come up with questions for the survey or form. Consider privacy concerns and how the database could integrate with our work.
- Audio GV
- Develop new audio content for GV, making it accessible to people with vision impairments and people who prefer audio
- Allow authors to record audio version of posts, repurpose recordings of workshops and other calls calls, relaunch the GV Podcast
- Multilingual community spaces
- Create more spaces for community development that aren’t in English
- Translation of workshops, guides, community spaces
- Photographers/Videographers/Data Analysts
- Actively recruit and develop audio visual creators and data specialists within GV
- Have procedures for “slow stories” that fit the schedule of audiovisual production, hold photography contests on specific topics
- Diversifying contributions for inclusion
- Develop new workflows that include people unable to “write for GV” in the traditional sense
- Procedures for co-writing posts, developing “bridge” people that help new authors write stories, procedures around tips and leads
- Rethinking volunteerism
- Find resources for keeping contributors in the community even when they lack the resources and free time to volunteer
- Develop systems to fund internet access for those that have to pay for it
- Working with communications schools/journalists
- Build connections between journalists and communications schools and GV that are mutually beneficial
- Develop students as contributors, and harness the influencer potential of journalists
Our plan for now is to start with the first three, and move toward taking direct action on them. Read on to learn how we imagine this going!
Follow-up Meetings and Action Groups
The first step for each topic that we try to tackle as a Council will be a follow-up meeting similar to the normal Council Zoom calls. The main difference is that each of these follow-up meetings will be dedicated to a single topic, and only those interested in working on the topic under discussion need to attend.
The agenda for each follow-up meeting will be built in advance as a collaborative Google Doc open to the people who wish to be involved.
The goal is for each of these meetings to lead to the formation of an Action Group, which will dedicate itself to working on the topic.
And that’s the overview, I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming! Below is a more detailed draft summary of the Follow-Up Meetings and Action Groups for you to consider and comment upon. These are our ideas for how we can make the best use of our time and effort within the Council 2020.
Follow Up Meetings
- Core team makes suggestions for Follow-Up Topics based on general Council Deliberations
- We hold an open Follow-Up Meeting for those interested in or curious about each of the Follow-Up Topics
- Interested Council members collaborate to develop a meeting agenda
- We schedule the meeting via a Doodle poll
- At the Follow-Up Meeting, the issue is discussed in detail, fleshing out content from previous Council call
- A new Action Group’s mission and next steps are defined
- Those interested in the topic join the Action Group
- All council members are encouraged to participate in one or more Action Groups. Even if you aren’t sure if you are an expert on the topic, your voice is welcome!
- Action Groups are a good way for members to contribute outside of the traditional writing and translating roles in GV
- Initially, at least, each Action Group will include at least one core team member, who will act as participant and advisor as needed.
- The two key roles needed for each group are Facilitator and Note-Taker:
- Facilitator: responsible for calling and organizing meetings
- Note-taker: documents the conversation and records action items to aid in reporting back to the Council Mailing List
- Action Groups should report back regularly to the Council Mailing List with their conclusions, plans, and achievements.
- Action Groups may be asked to summarize their mission and work at the first annual GV Council meeting each year.
What do you think?
Please let us know how you feel about this plan for follow-up meetings and Action Groups to tackle these vital issues!
The whole point of the Council is to help GVers be more directly involved in the decisions and projects that will make our community vibrant and effective, so we hope these ideas get you excited about participating. Please let us know what you think in the comments or on the Council Google Group.