Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Live Public Chat

Note: The live chats arranged so far are done, and I don't know if we'll use that platform again in future, but I'm looking at other, more accessible platforms for more discussion.

Welcome, everyone, to this discussion. We have a fantastic opportunity to create a new organisation, led by disabled people, democratic and accountable. I'm hoping that we can all build an organisation, together, that we can all be happy with and can be a major part in working to ensure a positive future for disabled people.

As such, I'm going to host some chat sessions so people can ask questions, find out what I'm thinking about, and let me know what you're thinking about. These will be held on IRC (internet relay chat) on the Freenode network - and if you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry. There will be a web interface that will be as easy to use as we can make it.

I know there's a lot of interest in this idea, so the chat will be moderated. This is not to censor anyone - I'm making sure that anyone helping me out by moderating knows that we all need to see everything people have to say. However, this is a chance to share ideas, not a vote or anything, so we don't need to see that several people have made the same point or asked the same question. If all goes to plan, anyone will be able to ask any question or raise any point, and the moderator will copy things so everyone can see them. The only thing I'm asking of them, when they do this, is keep things at a manageable pace and avoid repetition. Asking the same question twice because you don't think I answered it will be fine. Obviously, if anyone is posting in a really disruptive way that will also be filtered out - but just asking challenging questions like "what makes you think you can/should organise this?" isn't disruptive.

I know that this isn't going to be the best way to do this from an accessibility point of view - I'm unsure of the suitability of this method for users of screen readers, for instance. We will be posting a transcript after the chat, and this isn't going to be the only way for people to ask questions and share ideas. If anyone wants to post their ideas on a blog or whatever, they're welcome to do so, and if I know about them, I'll factor them in to what I post next.

If we're going to succeed at this, it will be by sharing ideas, working out what will work between us, and compromising. I know that disabled people don't all think the same, so any organisation we build to be inclusive has to allow for diversity of opinion and approaches. I have some ideas about how to do that, and I'm sure there are more.

Let's work together and build an organisation we can all be proud of.

NB: These chats will probably happen Thursday and Friday (14th and 15th May), one late afternoon/early evening, and one a bit later in the evening. Precise details will be posted as soon as they are decided.

Update: The chats will be at about 20:00 (8pm) on Thursday and 17:30 (5:30pm) on Friday, and will run for up to 90 minutes. There is no separate agenda for the two, it's just running at different times to get more people involved. I know this is short notice, and there will be more opportunities to share ideas later, I just wanted to get the ball rolling quickly. They will be held in the channel ##disabledunion (note the two hashes, ##) on Freenode - the web interface can be reached at http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=%23%23disabledunion&uio=Mj10cnVlJjM9ZmFsc2UmOT10cnVlJjE0PWZhbHNl25

Update 2:  I've just added a post about why I'm doing the live chat, and why you should come along. Please check it out, if you haven't already.

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