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A call to action

by Frank Schnittger Wed May 14th, 2008 at 08:51:57 PM EST

There has been much debate within the ET community concerning the possibility of developing an ET vers. 2.0 with much enhanced content management and user functionality - most recently on Meta ET and To ET or not ET.

Most of these discussions have foundered on the lack of resources available to follow through on them.  In our last discussion  Melanchthon and Migeru pointed to the availability of EU funds to support some of the kinds of activities ET engages in - specifically the EU is looking to fund proposals on the following lines:

Summary of the call for proposals EACEA/07/08...

This call for proposals, concerning action 1, measure 2.1 -- Citizens' projects within the `Europe for
Citizens' Programme (1), is designed to contribute addressing a major challenge of the European Union
today, namely how to bridge the gap between citizens and the European Union. It aims at exploring original
and innovative methodology with the potential to encourage citizens' par ticipation and to stimulate dialogue
between European citizens and the institutions of the European Union.
The specif ic objectives of this call for proposals are to suppor t citizens' panels which enable to:
(a) collect the opinion of citizens on some key European challenges for the future (see themes);
(b) consolidate a method for stimulating active interaction and discussion between citizens on certain
EU policy areas that affect their daily life;
(c) create mechanisms that enable European citizens to develop civic competences, to formulate their views
and opinions on the European integration process in the form of recommendations for policy makers at
European level;
(d) encourage the dialogue between European citizens and the institutions of the EU, empowering citizens
as regards EU policies and their impact, and ensuring appropriate follow up of citizens' opinions by the
EU institutions.
Applicants under this programme are invited to address in their projects at least one of the following
priority themes:
-- intercultural dialogue,
-- new institutional developments: a new momentum for active European citizenship,
-- women par ticipation in political life,
-- spor t for active citizenship and social inclusion,
-- the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009.


However in order to apply for such funding, certain criteria have to be met...
COMMISSION

2. Eligibile applicants To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must satisfy the following requirements: -- it must be a public body or a non-profit-making organisation with a legal status and legal personality. Consequently, natural persons -- i.e. individuals -- are not eligible, -- it must be established in an eligible country. Project must involve partner organisations from at least four different eligible countries other than the country of the applicant, fulfilling the eligibility criteria as defined above. Applicants must be established in one of the following countries: (a) the 27 Member States of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom; (b) Croatia; (c) information concerning the agreements establishing the participation of other countries can be consulted on our webpage: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/citizenship/index_en.htm 3. Budget and project duration The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects within this call for proposals is estimated at EUR 920 000. The grant awarded may not exceed 60 % of the total amount of the project's eligible costs as specified in the detailed budget estimate. Each grant will amount to between EUR 75 000 and EUR 150 000. Activities must start between 1 December 2008 and 28 February 2009. Activities must end before 31 December 2009. The maximum duration of projects is 10 months. 4. Deadline Applications must be sent to the Agency no later than 1 July 2008

The key criterion is thus that we need to identify public or non-profit partners in at least 5 EU states who will sign a letter of support for the project and make a relatively small contribution towards its costs.  If we could identify 5-10 partners in at least 5 EU member states, contributing a total of €50K - we would be able to apply for (the minimum) 75K of further funding from the EU (= 60% of total cost thus yielding a total of €125K) - enough to fund a substantial redevelopment and upgrade of the ET site.

This Diary is by way of a call to action to ET members throughout the EU to see if you can find any public or non-profit bodies who would be prepared to give some support to a significant enhancement and expansion of the ET site across national and linguistic communities within the EU.  Perhaps you know of an MEP, local EU office, or national foundation which would be prepared to show some support.  5K is a small chunk out of most organisations promotional budget - about what it costs to host a reception or seminar.

In order to assist you in writing begging letters to possible sponsors, a short description of what the proposed project is about is included below.  It is a very rough draft, and any suggestions for improvements are most welcome:

Blogging is one of the fastest growing phenomena in the world, creating virtual communities which socialise, exchange ideas, hone their writing skills, build relationships, and sometimes create whole new forces in civil society.  The phenomenon is most advanced in the USA where some blogs have become quite influential in public discourse and political activism.  Blogging is much less well developed in the EU for a variety of reasons - lower broadband penetration, lower levels of computer literacy, but chiefly because there is no single large linguistic and national community on the scale of the US within the EU.

The European Tribune has been partially successful in filling this void.  It has  4000 registered members and 2000 visitors per day who engage in on-line discussions on social, political, economic, environmental, cultural and artistic subjects, the publication of papers on various topics, and occasionally, on-line collaborations on specific projects.  A series of papers on "the Anglo-Disease" has become influential in both US and European discourse on alternative economic models, series on Peak Oil, Credit and Food have informed public debate, and a recent collaboration opposing the nomination of Tony Blair as President of the European Council received widespread publicity and 27,000 signatures for an on-line petition.

In all of this, it is clear that the European Tribune is making a growing contribution to the development of a European civil society.  However, it has become increasingly clear that linguistic and other barriers are inhibiting the further development of blogging, information sharing, and on-line collaboration in Europe, and that a more function rich multi-lingual environment is required to encourage the development of larger on-line communities and a truly trans-lingual demos within Europe.

Many contributors to The European Tribune are multi-lingual, but feel comfortable in engaging in discussions and contributing papers in only one language.  Many, who lack confidence in their command of English, do not contribute actively at all.  The European Tribune community have decided to upgrade their blogging software to support multi-lingual blogging but lack the financial resources to achieve this objective.  Some major US blogs do survive on donations and paid advertising alone, but this model has proved unviable to date within the context of the much smaller on-line linguistic communities/markets within the EU.

This proposal therefore seeks once-off financial support to enable the European Tribune to provide the following enhanced functionality for a rapidly expanding user base:

1.    Automated translation of content to a range of European Languages supported where possible by human editorial enhancements
2.    More sophisticated content management functionality (tagging) to enable much larger content streams to be presented and channeled to users who express an interest in particular subject areas
3.    A wikipedia like repository of seminal papers which have been peer reviewed by the ET community
4.    Greater accessibility and search ability of the content to casual users/browsers who are not signed up members of the European Tribune on-line community.

The enhanced site will allow an ever larger membership from a more diverse range of EU nationalities and language communities to engage with each other in on-line socialisation, discussion, research and collaboration on an ever wider range of projects.  It will assist in the development of transnational relationships, the development of greater linguistic skills, and in the education and mobilisation of a growing membership on a wider range of issues thus creating a more active and engaged EU citizenry.

The project will be managed by the European Tribune Editorial Board.  In order to apply for EU funding we need some initial seed funding and sponsorship from public/non-profit bodies in at least 5 EU member states.  We would like to invite you to become one of the founding sponsors of this very worthy initiative and would be pleased to meet with you to answer any queries you might have.

------

The main problem with this whole proposal is the application deadline of 1. July.  However similar "calls for proposals" are issued by the EU from time to time, and all tend to have similar eligibility criteria.  Thus, even if we are not successful in meeting the requirements of this application on this occasion, any preparatory work we do now will be re-usable for any subsequent application.

There are also a lot of other issues to be trashed out concerning the exact nature of the enhancements to be included in ET version 2.0, the best technical means of achieving them, who should do the work, and how the project should be managed.  However these issues can be thrashed out in parallel with our efforts to overcome the major obstacle to any successful application, and that is to find partner/sponsor organisations in at least 5 EU countries.

So it's over to the ET community now.  Are we serious about upgrading ET in a substantial way?  Do we accept that this cannot be achieved by voluntary effort alone? Is the EU funding option a reasonable and viable means of funding such an upgrade?  Does it compromise our independence in any way?  Can we find partner organisations in at least 5  EU countries to co-sponsor the application?  Can YOU do your bit to help by sending out begging letters to possible candidates for a partner organisation in your country?

Is this a project we can all engage with, or are we happier just moseying along with Jerome paying the bills?

Display:
Frank and friends,
This diary is the culmination of a series that created a good discussion, in which several people brushed on this question--do we WANT to be "sponsored", and what are the implications of accepting money from the EU and the necessary supporting organizations for application?

I agree with those who say that it's time for change.

I also think that if we choose to solicit donations, we need to be very careful from whom, and we need to first establish a clear policy of structural and editorial independence and a clear mechanism to maintain this independence.
Consider that a financial contributor will likely (and reasonably) expect to influence editorial policy, and be represented on any board or executive committee.

That said, we also seem, to me, to have as yet a very unclear policy of who and what we are, and where we want to go, in spite of the many thoughtful posts on the subject.

We need a mechanism to clarify this question first, in order to decide just who to ask about funding and support.

I read your last diary carefully, Frank, and the meta ET one, and they're a good start. But there's a real danger in pushing past undecided issues with a view supported by a minority, perhaps just in the interest of getting something done.
The dialog needs to be expanded to include as many registered users of ET as possible. Perhaps we need to  construct a good questionnaire, and then canvass, directly, all contributors.

If we fail to do this, sweeping imposed changes take on the look of a "Putz" instead of a healthy evolution--they will develop the usual flavor of self-referential elitism (think Kos) instead of an inclusive search for better ways--of intolerance instead of egalitarian inquiry.

It is perfectly legitemate for a small group of people to create a structure to channel their personal agendas and issues, and to manage it as they see fit--as long as this overlay is clearly stated, well understood.

I don't think we want to go there. We have our own way, and it's better.

Blow off June, and do the foundation work now--include everyone who will contribute their thoughts,, actively solicit opinions in some fashion resembling a two-step referendum process.
First, formally solicit from everyone, in a coherent format, the submission of each's ideas of where ET needs to go.
Then create a questionnaire, perhaps rating each widely-supported issue as to degree of importance, and ask everyone to fill it out.
  Perhaps then we could create a democratically selelcted group of diarists, with Front-pagers given no more control or voice than any one else, which will generate the final document on which we will solicit opinions, and which will become, after a democratically managed winnowing of the issues, our bylaws.
Then we vote on them.
And then we inevitably modify as needed to reach consensus.    
Then we move as a better united group, and no one (well, almost no one) will feel discarded or ignored.
Then we will be able to honestly decide who might be a good partner, and grab some EU dough
We'll not finding ourselves in the nasty position of turning tricks for a supporter for chump change.

 

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 01:10:02 AM EST
Many thanks for a very well reasoned and thought through response.  As you may have guessed, I am deliberately pushing the boat out on this just a bit to see if there is a real desire for change out there, and in what general direction people want that change to be.

I sometimes feel that ET is a bit like an amoeba - an amorphous single cell organism.  If you push it in one direction, it changes shape a bit, but it doesn't actually go anywhere, and if you push it in a different direction - well it just changes shape a bit again!  

Something about having a lot of very bright people - all going in their own directions, all resisting  "management" or coordination - but no actual mechanism for moving the whole community forward - in any direction.  Perhaps this is precisely how people want it to be, and that that is why they like ET.  If that is the case, so be it, I don't ultimately, have a problem with that, but I just want to know one way or the other.  

I'm just testing the hypothesis as to whether that is the type of organism/organisation people want ET to be, or whether they would prefer a slightly more organised/specialised/differentiated organisational structure with some democratic mechanisms for enabling change to happen in an organisd way.

Having said all that, I think change can also happen in a very pragmatic way, without everyone having to be agreed on everything, or all issues having to be resolved to the nth degree.  We just have to agree that a particular set of objectives are reasonable for a particular group to pursue at a particular time - whilst reserving our right to change our minds in the future.  

As you may recall, I had my doubts about the StopBlair campaign, but I wouldn't have dreamed of trying to stop those who were engaged in that initiative.   Sometimes the actual doing of something is the real learning and transformative experience and we are too afraid to try things in case we make a mistake or upset others.  Nothing we do here and now need be irreversible if a majority should decide otherwise, and no one is trying to change the culture of ET as a whole.  Think of it as putting a toe in the water of the real world, and perhaps shifting the centre of gravity just a bit, but certainly not with the intent of changing any of the many attributes of ET that most people know and love.

For instance, I would have a real problem with this:
geezer in Paris:

Consider that a financial contributor will likely (and reasonably) expect to influence editorial policy, and be represented on any board or executive committee.

Absolutely not!  For 5K you get the right to associate yourself with a very positive and rapidly growing phenomenon within Europe - but no external group gets the right to influence ET editorial policy!

I hope this helps to clarify where I am coming from on this.  We can continue with this discussion going around in circles for ever and a day - but I get bored with that very quickly unless some action plan emerges.  This will be my last attempt to "herd cats" on this issue.  I want to bring closure on this (for myself at least).  If we want to develop a radically enhanced ET 2.), and if we accept that it cannot be done by voluntary effort alone, we need some plan to make it happen.  

If someone comes up with a better plan, then great.  If we decide this option isn't worth the hassle, then fine.  If we decide we prefer things as they are, wonderful!  But I for one am not going to spend any more time on this topic because I hate chasing lost causes, or people not thinking through the implications of what might be required to make their ideas come to life.  I can talk as much as most people, but ultimately I'm a doer and like to test ideas in the real world.  And I hate wasting time on projects that are never going to go anywhere.  

So will someone please convince me that this project has any prospect of going anywhere, any time soon, or as they say - I'm outa here!  There are so many more fun things to do in life and going around in circles all the time isn't one of them!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 05:23:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'd find it sad if you split, frank, but if your participation is conditional on ET becoming something else than it is, i'd understand.

i hope you stick around, as you contribute some really interesting points of view on europe.

perhaps you are trying to be a good midwife to ET's next phase, and perhaps the birth progresses well already.

please check in sometimes and let us know if you find other blogs which fulfill your activist needs better.

thanks for all your passion and ideas. you have definitely made us think harder, and i feel your style blends in really well with the eclectic mix of characters here.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 06:56:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry Melo - I may have expressed myself poorly.  I'm not threatening to leave ET - and certainly not because "I'm not getting my way on this".

But what I generally do with I join a community/organisation is to try make some positive active contribution and my approach is often to take some ideas floating around (rarely original ones from me) and see if I can develop a coherent action plan to make it possible for them to happen.  If nothing comes of it, no big deal.  But I felt I owed it to Jerome and the community here to make the effort because of all the fun I've had - made possible by the work you have all previously put in.  I have some sympathy for Jerome and the FPers putting in so much time/effort/money and perhaps not getting much thanks for it, and I wanted to see if I could make a positive contribution.

If nothing comes of it, then fine.  I will stop publishing any more diaries/comments on this subject.  However that won't stop me participating in a more passive way and perhaps publishing the odd diary on other topics as the mood takes me.  It's just I won't take an activist responsibility for what happens on ET and just drop in and out doing my own thing - leaving it to others to worry about where ET is going.

geezer in Paris:

If we fail to do this, sweeping imposed changes take on the look of a "Putz" instead of a healthy evolution-

Nothing could be further from my intention, and geezer is of course right to point to the need to create a consensus around all this.   I think there may have been some feeling out there that I have a personal agenda in all this.  I have.  To help out with a project that I think has come a long way and is doing some great work - work that I think is worthy of some more public recognition and support and capable of receiving it.

To be honest, as a former project manager myself, I wouldn't want to touch this project with a barge poll.  There are too many conflicting ideas, no clear processes for defining requirements and solutions, and no management processes for ensuring that a coherent set of deliverables are agreed and implemented.  But thats ok - life is often like that, and I've got a lot of other things on.

I look forward to seeing your contributions in the future and doing the odd bit myself- but as a more passive rather than activist member of the community.  Cheers!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 07:22:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are too many conflicting ideas, no clear processes for defining requirements and solutions, and no management processes for ensuring that a coherent set of deliverables are agreed and implemented.

sounds like my life, lol

it's just not ready...

hunch: it will self-organise, your efforts are like the foam that the wave spits before crashing, the signs of its arrival.

it's like some dishes, they can't be cooked too quickly, or you don't get the full flava.

 

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 07:44:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Frank for all your effort. I just think that processes on ET are somewhat slower and take more patience and time. It looks like this week some of the usual contributers to this kind of discussion are not present, meaning busy otherwise. So not much response, does not necessarily mean no interest. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 09:00:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, I appreciate that, and have been conscious of a lack of frontpager engagement/endorsement on the other diaries as well - for whatever reasons. However, either way, I think I have now taken this as far as I can, or should, and that if it doesn't now gather a head of steam of its own accord, with others leading parts of the action, then it becomes clear I am trying to role a square stone up hill and its best to leave it at that.  

At least we now have A concrete proposal, which others can reject, modify, build on as they see fit - or better still, come up with a radically different and better proposal.  Without other people taking up the ball and running with different aspects of the proposal, nothing is going to come of it in any case.

Besides engaging in an ET community consultation process on the lines geezer has suggested, we need to develop a more detailed and internally consistent set of requirements for ET 2.0, do some technical feasibility work, put together an outline project plan, timescale and budget, consult with possible sponsors/partners in various countries, look at options for an ET legal personality, start filling in the applications forms etc.  As each aspect becomes more defined/agreed - it will feed into and clarify work that need to be done on other aspects - and perhaps change the shape of the project somewhat.

However I will now leave all of that to others to contribute to or not as they see fit.  This isn't going to happen if only a few people think it is the right thing to do and are prepared to contribute towards doing it.  Like many good things, it will come when people are ready for it.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 09:26:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're not getting front-pager comments because it's not easy for us to take up hard and fast positions on some of these matters -- that have, though you may not realize it, been discussed before (though not including your welcome efforts, for which thanks, to seek out EU funding rules).

As for endorsement, I read and rec'd this diary this morning.

A front-pager who argues forcefully in favour of something risks being seen as authoritarian, and some will be quick to see an agenda. But silence is, well, noticed. Maybe it's an agenda that dares not speak its name... Or maybe not.

What I think of your proposal is that I have not yet seen this community undertake anything like that amount of work in a consistent manner. I don't oppose it - and I support the aim of some form of multilingual platform with easy-to-search data - but I don't see it happening in a hurry. That's my personal view as an ET member.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 10:47:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
A front-pager who argues forcefully in favour of something risks being seen as authoritarian, and some will be quick to see an agenda

Thats just sad.  The world, in my experience, is made up of people who are good at doing things, and people who are good at stopping other people doing things.  The latter are often very clever, sometimes a useful corrective to headstrong over-enthusiasm amongst the doers, but rarely good at doing much positive or constructive themselves.

So unfortunately I have to agree with you:afew:

What I think of your proposal is that I have not yet seen this community undertake anything like that amount of work in a consistent manner. I don't oppose it - and I support the aim of some form of multilingual platform with easy-to-search data - but I don't see it happening in a hurry.

The sad thing is that it really needn't be all that much work for the vast majority.  We could appoint a project manager (NOT me!!!) to do most of the grunt work defining/agreeing requirements with the ET community, developing an outline technical design, scoping/costing the work, discussing with prospective partners, drafting the applicaton etc. - and a project of this size typically allocates 10-20% of gross cost to project management.  What we DO need is some volunteers to write letters to possible suitable partner/sponsor organisations in their countries, and there the silence has been deafening.

I sometimes wonder whether all the eloquent words written in favour of social change are mostly just that, words, and that when it comes to a little action, no task is small enough.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 11:14:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]

We could appoint a project manager (NOT me!!!)

That's the heart of the problem. If not you, who will get this idea of yours started? (I know it's not just yours, but you're the one pushing it right now).

A project leader/coordinator is needed - someone who will draft the overall plan, start working on the legal and structural aspects, propose a budget and get the fund-raising effort - and whose texts will be critiqued by others - but which also will prevail in the absence of any alternative.

I'd like to lead that process, but I simply do not have the time. I have offered to put on the table the kind of money that could launch the effort (the 60kE or so), to get one or more ETers to work on this full time and "start the pump" to make it sustainable over more than a few months.

But we must first agree on what the goal is. Let's work on this first.

I don't think IT or multi-language tools are the first priority, frankly. As I've said before, I think we should focus on preparing some "polished papers", and finding a way to send them out loudly. The money should be to create the bare bones infrastructure, have the PR ability, and then have funds for ETers to give them a reason to spend many days summarising months or years of discussions on our favorite topics, and being available to present these to a wider public (time off work + travel).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 11:44:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:

I'd like to lead that process, but I simply do not have the time. I have offered to put on the table the kind of money that could launch the effort (the 60kE or so), to get one or more ETers to work on this full time and "start the pump" to make it sustainable over more than a few months.

But we must first agree on what the goal is. Let's work on this first.

I don't think IT or multi-language tools are the first priority, frankly.

Clearly different people will have different priorities, and one of the initial tasks will be to see how many of everyone's priorities can be included within the project scope for the available budget.  (This may also require some negotiation where different people have conflicting or diametrically opposed views.  That is the reality of every day and business life, and issues like that have to be resolved in the formative stages of almost any significant project).  

We also have to bear in mind that the EU may be more inclined to support some enhancements rather than others - and the guidelines are reasonably clear on that.  In general they may be more inclined to support an enhanced technical platform for discussion/content generation, but not the actual content generation itself.

However if you do have (say) €50K to invest up front, that removes one of the most difficult tasks which would otherwise be virtually impossible to resolve in the near term, and that is to provide the 40% project funding required to make up the balance should the EU contribute 60%.  (The EU minimum 75K grant, allied to their maximum 60% contribution, means that the minimum project size is €125K.)

All we would then need to do - prior to 1st. July - is set up some kind of legal personality for ET (e.g. an ET Foundation, say in France) and obtain letters of endorsement/support from at least 4 other organisations in four other member states.  (Tell me if I have got this wrong, Melanchthon!).  

Given that ET has quite a degree of public visibility, it shouldn't be too hard to explain what we do, and obtain at least a principled endorsement from organisations generally in favour of developing public debate on EU issues.  Asking for money is a much more complex business as organisations often have complex and time consuming project/funding approval processes - even for quite small amounts of cash.

The actual application to the EU itself - again correct me if I am wrong Melanchthon!) - need not go into a great deal of detail (especially technical detail) but rather focus in general terms on what is proposed, why it is important, and what the benefits will be - the draft letter in the Diary above will give you a flavour of the kind of narrative which often accompanies a business project proposal.  (I have been at project proposal presentations looking for authorisation to spend millions which consisted of little more than a Powerpoint Presentation.  What is critical in such situations is that you have some successful track record of doing what you propose to do.  In our case ET has an exemplary track record of promoting international dialogue etc. - what it needs to be able to demonstrate is that it can manage a significant change project successfully.

What all of this means is that the work that needs to be done before 1st. July is not that great:

  1. Set up ET as some kind of limited liability foundation - e.g. in France

  2. Find four organisations in four member states who are reasonably sympathetic to what we do and who are prepared to write a letter endorsing the project in general terms.

  3. Agree a GENERAL narrative of what the project is about.

  4. Produce a high level budget (spreadsheet format supplied by EU) scoping the work and allocating sums to the various headings and adding up to c. €125K

  5. Fill in the application forms.

(I am speaking from general business experience, but Melanchthon has experience of actually doing so with the EU, and has agreed to write a diary on the process when time permits).

I know this sounds all wrong, but most business projects are approved on the basis of a general narrative outlining broad objectives, why the project is needed, what the organisational track record is, what methods will be employed to achieve those objectives, and what management processes will be in place to ensure that the project meets those objectives.

The detail of what will be in the requirements specification, what the overall system design will look like, what software tools will be used, what sort of content will be generated, and in what quantities - all of that can be debated and decided in the pre-project period - from July to Dedember - because according to the EU rules  the project cannot start until December and must be completed in 2009.

In other words - only a very general decision on the overall project objectives is needed prior to 1st., and we have 6 months to fill in the detail before the project formally begins.  We can also use that time to find a project manager/team to do the work once the ET community have signed off on it.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 01:40:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The world, in my experience, is made up of people who are good at doing things, and people who are good at stopping other people doing things.

Try as I might, I don't seem able to imagine people falling into those two camps. I also fail to see your point.

I sometimes wonder whether all the eloquent words written in favour of social change are mostly just that, words, and that when it comes to a little action, no task is small enough.

Are we going to have another words/action debate, lol? As if finding the right information, the right language, the right narratives, is not a form of action? As if some people spending a lot of time round here is not a form of action?

In this case, your proposed action is not just sending a few form letters, however. The implication is that there'll be follow-up, meetings if necessary: persuading orgs to part with €5K, which they're not going to do on the basis of a simple letter. And this within the next few weeks, in at least 5 EU countries, and raising €50K. I don't see it happening, but I don't see it as a reflection on ET members if they don't rush to try.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 11:57:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose I am focused on the outcomes of dialogue as well as the dialogue itself - and thus I am more interested in a dialogue which results in some concrete enhancements of what ET can offer to a wider membership - and also takes some of the financial pressure off Jerome.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 02:00:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank:

I sometimes wonder whether all the eloquent words written in favour of social change are mostly just that, words, and that when it comes to a little action, no task is small enough.

As far as I am concerned, if I speak in favour of social change I am consistent. And I do what I can. In addition, I perform my respect for others not calling into question their actions, according to my personal views. I suppose that there are priorities in the process of growing ET. Publicizing ET in circles wider than the current ones, creating a broad and consistent ET wisdom to increase the already existing one, and obtaining a greater number of collaborations, serious, meaningful and documented on different areas by people from different countries, all this is something that is also to act.
I just do not understand. Sorry. Forgive me. I do not want my words were misinterpreted.

by PerCLupi on Sat May 17th, 2008 at 02:55:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry if anyone took this personally, it wasn't so intended.  But all of us have to make choices as to where our efforts - both words and actions - can be the most effective.  I had high hopes for ET, and for being able to make some contribution to its development by helping to secure some significant funding for its future enhancement.  

I now have to accept I was naive and wrong, at least in the short term term, and so I will devote the bulk of my energies elsewhere.  However I will drop by from time to time to see how you guys are getting on!  There is nothing personal in all of this.  Simply a rational decision on what I think I should be doing in the foreseeable future.  I wish you every success in your endeavours.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 17th, 2008 at 06:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2. Eligibile applicants To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must satisfy the following requirements: -- it must be a public body or a non-profit-making organisation with a legal status and legal personality.

This makes it abundantly clear that you gotta be --something. A corporation, an association, a foundation, --and all these entities have charters, bylaws, stating who they are and what they are about.

Having said all that, I think change can also happen in a very pragmatic way, without everyone having to be agreed on everything, or all issues having to be resolved to the nth degree.  We just have to agree that a particular set of objectives are reasonable for a particular group to pursue at a particular time - whilst reserving our right to change our minds in the future.  

In the context of your diary, this sounds a lot like adopting a convenient facade for the purpose of sucking off some dough-- too "pragmatic" for me.

We really DO need to know who we are and where we want to go.
We really DO need to NOT be a multi-level authoritarian pyramid with plans within plans.
It's time to grow, but we need a consensus plan, with tolerance and an inclusive vision. A way to get there was what I was musing about.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 07:25:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
geezer in Paris:
We really DO need to know who we are and where we want to go.
We really DO need to NOT be a multi-level authoritarian pyramid with plans within plans.
It's time to grow, but we need a consensus plan, with tolerance and an inclusive vision. A way to get there was what I was musing about.

And I agree with you - and have been trying to do my bit to set a process in motion which can achieve the above.  But I can't do it on my own, and I think I have now done as much as any one person should do without running the risk of being accused of having an agenda.

So I leave it to you to take it from here geezer.  You have put together the bones of a good consultation plan and I wish you the best of luck with it.

PS a body with a legal personality doesn't have to be much more than an agreement by a few people to work together -  a shell if you like, or an ET foundation with a couple of trustees.  However Melanchthon  has pointed out that our partner or sponsoring organisations would have to have some substance or track record - e.g. The Institute of European Affairs - a policy research think-tank and forum based in Dublin - to demonstrate that it is a serious proposal with trans European support.  However in the case of the European Tribune I'm sure the EU would take a pragmatic approach, because a trans - European blog already demonstrates our bono fides and it would just be a case of demonstrating that we can manage a substantial project to ensure that the EU gets what it agreed to pay for.  ET needs to consider setting up some king of limited liability legal structure in any case, otherwise Jerome et al run the risk of being sued, in their personal capacity, for any libels or slanders inadvertently published here.  Even a spurious legal action would be a great way for an unsympathetic or hostile third party to paralyze this site and we should probably consider taking such a legal safeguard in any case.  I have been there too.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 08:16:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As you know, my suggestion is to create an ET Foundation somewhere it doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and for that Foundation to be a "Custodian" member of an ET LLP - cost £20.00 - alongside a loose club/consortium of individual "Operating Members".

The LLP covers the exposure of the individuals to some degree. (absent fraud etc)

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 09:34:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
geezer in Paris:
This makes it abundantly clear that you gotta be --something. A corporation, an association, a foundation, --and all these entities have charters, bylaws, stating who they are and what they are about.

Can you reassure geezer that it need not impact on how ET currently operates and that:
geezer in Paris:

In the context of your diary, this sounds a lot like adopting a convenient facade for the purpose of sucking off some dough-- too "pragmatic" for me.

a legal entity like this is a sensible requirement for the EU (and for us) doesn't have to be a false front for anything?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 10:01:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a legal entity like this is a sensible requirement for the EU (and for us) doesn't have to be a false front for anything?

That was, of course, my point exactly. So no reassurance is necessary. Anyway, I just took my medicine, so I'm better now. ;-)

Unless we find out first who or what we wanna be when we grow up, ---how can we create any structure to accomplish that (undefined) end? -or even write bylaws?

Melo is right, perhaps- if you let the thing grow, it may just grow up fine.
In the end, however, we'll need to do that which I described, or a similar process if we want to "act" together effectively instead of just talk endlessly.
I too prefer a more activist peer group.
Damned scarce these days.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 11:23:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm glad we agree.  For a moment I thought I might be accused of trying to manipulate both ET and the EU grant aid system.  The fact is that the EU proposal seems to designed to support precisely the sort of things (in general terms) that we to some extent already do and want to do more of - so why not take advantage of it?  If Jerome can provide the seed funding, all we need is four letters of support from organisations generally sympathetic to the cause of promoting trans national dialogue and collaboration within the EU.  Not that big an ask is it?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 01:57:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank, I think the hardest part of being a multi-disciplinary organization without a disciplinary environment, is making up the rules that no-one is going to obey.

Like several of us here, you have been part of hierarchical structures that have guided your thinking, but clearly not brainwashed the activist in you. As a former inmate, I think you have the duty to bring the best of it to us, while remaining open to the idea that it mIght be all totally wrong ;-)

Thats's where I am at, anyway.

If you can take the long-winded Californian obtuseness, here is a 1998 podcast (?) that lays out many of the possibilities long before most of us had an email account.

Another interesting take is here.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 07:32:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was looking for volunteers to write some letters/do some lobbying to try and secure some funds which Jerome and most others seem to think are required to enable ET to create ET 2.0.  Nothing authoritarian or hierarchical about it.  Most of my involvements now are with voluntary or charitable organisations where a lot of what is done is done on a voluntary basis.

Does no one around here have a job - or have all been so wounded by the experience?  I appreciate many come here just to let off some steam and I have also been part of semi-anarchistic quasi revolutionary student type groups in my youth so I know most of the arguments and the ideologies.  Most of us grew up.  Some didn't want to, and some even survived in the arts or alternative worlds provided they had private means or exceptional abilities  (usually the former).

I don't have a problem with that, but don't tell me ET is some brave new world which models how the real world should be.  We couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery .... well maybe that! :-)

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 06:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
semi-anarchistic quasi revolutionary student type groups

Woohoo, now you're really on a roll, Frank!

Would that fit in anywhere with Martin's Salon Socialism?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 08:03:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A piss-up can materialize without being organized - that's the point.

My Dutch IT guru compared new methods of organization and their 'control' to a rider and a horse. The rider (the nominal controller) is both guide and passenger. The horse (the process) is perfectly capable of going wherever it wants to, subject to the terrain and its enclosure. The horse is prepared to allow the rider up on its back to go to places that the rider wants, providing the rider respects the horse, and the rider is associated (in the horse's mind) with the system that cares for the horse.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 09:58:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah - the rider has first broken the horse and used physical punishment/domination to ensure that the horse does his bidding... after than it seems all consensual, but there is a very clear hierarchy as to who is the boss.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 10:04:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You see it through the eyes of the old world ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 10:39:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I see things through the eyes of the horse...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 02:11:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank.  I have to ask you who you think controls what is going on in your own head and how it came be filled with wonderful stuff? Who is the horse and who is the rider?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 17th, 2008 at 07:41:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both are projections of your unconscious self, one trying to fool the other that there isn't a dominance hierarchy at work in order to maintain a narrative of spurious equality and democracy.  But it doesn't ultimately, matter, because the I that knows this is also the I that both dominates and is dominated.  It is our fractal realities that think there is an other that is not also part of the I, and the violence of the supposed conflict but the energy of the self trying to re-unify itself....

Now, aren't you sorry you asked, especially on a Saturday evening?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 17th, 2008 at 01:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh no! I have to come back to this - but first a Saturday evening DVD. I think it's going to be Bill Murray's 1981 'Stripes'

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 17th, 2008 at 01:59:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow.
You keep doing this to me, Sven.
Thanks.
McKenna is incredibly prescient here, though you're right, life's too short to experience too many of those talks,
and Jill Taylor had an experience absolutely transcendent. And she was uniquely equipped to describe and evaluate it.
Two small treasures.
I have a lot of impressions about the effect of the net on real community, and my growing isolation from the world that I made and chose to live in.
One day I may diary them.

I've said this before, but for me, Capra's "The Web of Life" is head and shoulders the best foundation, the best jumping-off place for a wider view that I have found.


Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 07:42:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not me Geezer, I correspond with a lot of weird people who send me stuff ;-)

I'm just a medium...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 10:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1.    Automated translation of content to a range of European Languages supported where possible by human editorial enhancements

Multi-lingual ET?
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 01:25:21 PM EST
I'm going to try to start a summary of priorities as well, following in your footsteps, because my head is starting to spin. Although I'll not have the patience, capacities or time to make something which can equal your skill in this...

There are several subjects that have come up during the To ET or not to ET diary and which are now getting hashed out, already spreading across several diaries.

Jerome brought up the two-pronged idea to develop both the "internal" and an "external" sides of ET.

As I understand this, the internal side would consist of cataloguing and making ET wisdom more accessible, for instance by an ETpedia. Further development would require 1) filing, 2) tagging previous and future diaries and/or comments, and possibly 3) removing the concept of "archived diaries", and 4) integrating posted diaries instantly with ETpedia.

The external side would consist of the media outlet/ think tank aspect which was outlined as a platform for LTE storage, position papers, or synthesis articles and should be seen without loss of functionality or spirit of ET. The corollaries of a media outlet should also come with a press officer or spokesperson - for which J has taken the part of the receiving end so far, but also someone with expertise on press releases would be needed.

These ideas have now been pulled into the discussion involving the redesigning of ET with a multilingual scope. A numerous amount of comments have expressed their resistance against making ET a multilingual site, or were at minimum against prioritizing it in the previous diary, and we're seeing more doubts voiced in tonight's open thread. Moreover, it appears clear that, whatever model will be followed, a "language pollination" project would require a remaking of the website(s) in their entirety at minimum.

However, Frank suggested that developing a multilingual platform would've the best chance to net EU funding - which is what we're hashing out in this diary. Melanchton suggested in the other diary to run both projects parallel with each other.

**

For me, I'm taking in these strides with a lot of amazement - we've gone from the model of knowledge repository to think tank to cross-cultural EU project within a few diaries. And in all honesty I'm not sure if the community as it is, is not taking too much on itself all the sudden. I admire your ambitiousness Frank - but wouldn't it be best to scale down? To me, it seems the target to focus on is the external side - hash out the operational structure how to bud a think tank out of ET? You've listed those priorities and order of approach as well, and I think there is a large, general consensus to make it happen.

To jump straight into a very challenging funding operation with an imminent deadline may well break the camel's back. Although I'm supportive of development of a multilingual site, is it not possible to schedule a deadline of such scope for a later date, say, for instance, summer 2009? Honestly, you'd be an ideal person to design an outline for that longer term strategy, and set up "targets" with deadlines.

by Nomad on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 05:17:53 PM EST
Please read my response to Jerome above, if you haven't already seen it.  We really only need an outline project proposal, scope, costing, budget etc. for July 1st.  If we want to go for EU funding under their current proposal.  The project wouldn't actually happen until 2009 which leaves a lot of time to tease out the details.

I'm not sure I understand or accept Jeromes Internal/external dichotomy - but at this stage the proposal could include almost everything - the detail to be thrashed out later.  But our application would have to relate to the EU guidelines - which include intercultural  though not necessarily inter-linguistic dialogue.

A lot of what we finally propose will also be constrained by technical feasibility, timescales, developer skills, maintainability,  budget etc.  I would be wary of producing a large specialised codebase which would require a lot of maintenance afterwards.  We have no proposal for ongoing funding.

Hence also my query on Someone's diary re: what supports EU translators use.  I'm all for re-using stuff being developed elsewhere.

However please develop your prioritised listing of key user requirements.  It will be invaluable later in developing a consensus on the scope and shape of the project if it ever gets off the ground.  

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 05:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think your initiative is worth being thoroughly discussed but I've been in a conference all day and early tomorrow morning, I'm taking a plane to New Caledonia, so forgive me if I don't have enough time to comment your diary now (ditto for someone's brilliant diary).

I am willing to dedicate enough time to this kind of project but, as I said before, I don't think we can build a proper project in such a short period of time, even if we have the money. I agree with geezer: we must take enough time to decide what kind of structure we want to establish, with which purpose and which rules, because once it is created, it will influence the kind of projects we will be able to build. However, I agree to contribute to draft a project and refine it in order to have something to present to potential partners and be ready when a new call for proposals is published.

I'll be back soon...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 06:07:10 PM EST
we must take enough time to decide what kind of structure we want to establish, with which purpose and which rules, because once it is created, it will influence the kind of projects we will be able to build.

It may seem tedious in the extreme, but it will pay off soon enough.
I did this once.

About 15 years ago I came into some money as a result of an idea that caught on, and I created a "think tank" with a collection of friends- talented friends.
A philosopher/engineer,
A sociologist/graphic artist,
A systems analyst/programmer,
A teacher/ceramicist,
A psychologist with immense talent-in riding motorcycles,
An engineer/naturalist

and a few others.

It failed, primarily because we had not thought through ways to cope with the inevitable toxic competition games that were culturally ingrained in all of us. Hell, --we couldn't even see them, let alone avoid them.

Once burned---  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 08:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't disagree at all, except perhaps that I am more pessimistic as to whether "ET" could ever agree to anything other than a very broad, banal and vague charter in the first place.  But while I see the exercise in trying to produce this as being very important, I  don't see it as a prerequisite for the July 1st. Deadline - which is about a broadly defined technical project rather than a defined charter for ET.

I don't see the "legal personality" requirement as necessarily addressing this need - it is more to protect Jerome et al, as private individuals being personally liable if someone decides to sue, and also to meet a legitimate EU requirement that there is a clear separation  between private finances and a public entity with separate accounts for the purpose of accounting for EU funds.

The period between July 1. st.  and Dec. 1st - which is the earliest the project can begin would be the time to define precisely what we want the project to do, how it will achieve it, who should do the work, and how we can put processes in place to ensure those objectives are achieved to the satisfaction of EU auditors and the ET community as a whole.

Sven talks about my being more used to being in a disciplined hierarchical business environmnet.  The reality is often very difficult, and business can be much more chaotic and conflict laden than outsiders imagine.  I regularly created and delivered projects which "the business" only had vague ideas about but which they trusted me to deliver to the benefit of the business - e.g.

  1. The first internal e-mail system - when most senior managers had secretaries and wondered what the point of e-mail was
  2. The first internal "knowledge management system" when the internet wasn't really understood as anything other than something technical nerds talked about.
  3. The first Windows based database application in Europe (using an Alpha version of Access - then codenamed Cirrus) when the IT techie strategy establishment regarded Windows as a passing IT fad.

All these systems ultimately changed the business in ways senior management could never have understood at the time.  They were justified on the basis of existing business strategic objectives and a willingness to do some R&D with uncertain outcomes.  I think I find ET to be a much more change resistent environment than business ever was (for me).  

What others may have experienced as authoritarian and hierarchical I experienced as creative, trusting, dynamic, and quite transformative in terms of the level of business, organisational, cultural, and technical changes achieved.  It is of course unfair to compare a community blog to a business, but I just want to highlight that the dominant stereotypes we have about both are sometimes wrong.

But my more general point, is that life is a journey and we can't always know the precise destination in advance - and those who think they know exactly where they are going often get it wrong.  A project is about creating a very limited space where some variables are controlled.  The trick in successful project management is to keep that space limited and clearly defined, to avoid scope drift, and to have clear and limited objectives in the first place.  

That is why I have been trying to reduce this enterprise to a few clear and limited objectives which are achievable within tight budgetary and temporal constraints.  This project if well defined, managed, and protected from extraneous agendas is eminently achievable, but it will be a disaster without clear boundaries, limited objectives, and some protective structures being put around it.

I think ET is better suited to a more amorphous, idiosyncratic, occasional, incremental, experimental and chaotic process of change and this thread has convinced me that any attempt at the more structured approach required to achieve EU funding is unlikely to be possible.  I'm happy to leave the stage now to those with the former approach.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 08:48:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds about right. I don't think ET is a solution provider, or even an R&D house, and I don't see rolling out Project X (for certain values of X) as a primary objective.

Social policy doesn't have hard edges, and isn't primarily about being a solution provider. The technology only starts to matter when it either dramatises a rhetorical point (good) or gets in the way of promoting it (bad).

We've certainly lost some effectiveness by not being multilingual. But being properly multilingual turns out to be very hard, so I don't see any shame in that.

I think if we wanted to have more impact we'd get more benefit from starting up a more professional (looking) PR front.

I can't say I'm convinced by your examples. I don't see selling pre-existing technologies to management as outstandingly creative. It may not be easy, but it's not revolutionary in the sense that developing email or databases in the first place is revolutionary.

So I think you're confusing some very different things. There's technology, there's social culture, there's corporate culture, and there are the narrative links which define the relationships between them.

ET is most likely to be effective at the narrative level. Technological, legal and financial innovations can be a good way to dramatise how new narratives can work, but if you're not sure what point you're trying to make, 'Let's build this' isn't a substitute.

I like the idea of the translation project, but I'd rather ET became 'that place where they're a couple of years ahead of everyone else' and not so much 'that place where they did the translation thing for the EU.'

If anything, we're a media organisation, with a simmering and latent option on becoming a srategic consultancy.

We're not - at least I hope we're not - primarily a software design and implementation house.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 09:15:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
We're not - at least I hope we're not - primarily a software design and implementation house.

And I would run a mile from trying to turn ET into that.  My focus would always be t try to use pre-existing technologies were possible.  However this project proposal is about rolling together a number of quite distinct things which have been mooted and debated on ET for quite some time - and obtaining some EU funding to make them possible  

Some are largely technical - e.g. multi-lingual capability (although I'm not convinced there isn't some software out there already capable of doing much of what we want) and ET 2.0 which seems to be largely about interface enhancements.  Others are more research, knowledge management and PR -  the ETPedia idea, and having more of a think tank/PR operation.

All can probably struggle along based on occasional voluntary efforts, donations from Jerome and others, piggy backing on software innovations elsewhere etc.

I just saw these activities as being broadly compatible with what the EU was trying to support with Summary of the call for proposals EACEA/07/08 and thus an opportunity to take some of the financial pressure of Jerome.  This call to action was about trying to meet the eligibility criteria for such funding without changing the broad thrust of what we wanted to do in any case.  Call it opportunism if you like, but I don't have a problem with obtaining official support if it is to do things I agree with and want to do anyway.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 16th, 2008 at 09:42:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm in for some cash. Just let me get back to Europe first.

As soon as the job settles in you can count on me to be more helpful around here as well. I feel so far away in the fly-over country of the US of A, but will soon feel much more in the thick of things...

by redstar on Thu May 15th, 2008 at 06:13:17 PM EST


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