Who's admin, who's user?
- 4 users
- 7 admins
- 1 whose kind of both
- but the border can be a bit blur ...
Experiences from collectives
- example of a failure: l'Autre.net
self managed and self governed: an assembly of all hosters and hostees. It still exists, has 6 servers now but the selfmanaged part is totally gone. there is a oligarchy of root, with a few people having a lot of information and power
the inital ideas was to have no bounderies between users and admins.
. it's not really the way we do work ...
not take too much users also because the server is small, so they kind of know all users. They want to get more sysdamins to run their own small servers to manage users in a more human way.
experience of a riseup user: it was just a big unknown organisation
a small-scale service based on personal contacts
a problem with the service we offer: they are not directly from human to human, but through machines and so somehow impersonal. that's sometimes desirable, but how to intergrate users, sharing knowledge
- indymedia: both users and admins
inside this big organisation, the services are offered by the organisation to the organisation. e.g they have an irc server because they use it. so eventhough they don't all have the root password they can still feel being on their server.
"as a root I had too much power. nobody could see what i was doing. also nobody wanted to know what i was doing".
- Indymedia Quebec
Hard to involve users, sometimes they come at meetings, willing to get involved by their nothing easy to do for them...
Very little documentation. They had a mailling-list of users but there is very little use of it at the moment
About the "root" problem, there is a way to solve this by spreading the knowledge and helping people to set up their own servers.
==> Proposal: Using the "network" we are currently building to organize parties in our local cities. Get the people in front of each others, even accross servers.
- green spider
know nearly all people/groups who they host. no money paid for services. user experience: even when you want to pay they don't get around to dealing with it, so it feels like they actually don't really care about the users. Only one person as a contact, who simply has too much work to do. that's actually the reason why this user now learns how to admin servers...
user experience: no contact to the provider; read email only every 2 days, so no time to get into technical stuff
user experience: easy because he knows the people, therefore there are no people
user experience: sometimes admins send email to report issues (or just to give some news to their users). It's mostly one way communication, but the IRC channel is open to everyone.
if there is a problem like no mail for a few days, then user just goes to irc to ask. it's not great but a bit of communcation.
not a real relationship, just a one-way communication
On nokods, there are mostly users. People are very intersted by the service, and by the fact that decisions happen to be taken in common. It's community-based and know most people using the service. About "root power": decisions are made on a mailling-list where Aurelien propose things, and the users usually say "Ok", like that. Which is kind of a problem.
People needs this service because they have interest into it. But they won't get involved into it, really, even if there's a lot of workshops and documentation made but more knowledgable (admins...) people.
applications & issues
- a way to connect to other peers as well as to users. sometimes users come in angry, and after chatting a bit they understand what admins are doing. Sometimes it even seems to be easier to talk to techies/admins on irc than in real life.
Problem of all kind of specialization (e.g. doctors, mechanics). Emphasis on the idea that there is a //bastard// that can read your e-mail and such, and should make users more aware of that.
In Globenet, the user auto-support groups (by mailling-lists or forum) never took off because webmasters of the hosted NGOs have no time for this (either volunteer (no time for that), commercial agencies (don't care), or exploited salary (no time for that either, doesn't seem important).
What is the ideal user (or ideal admin)?
Ideal admins would share its knowledge - by osmosis.
an ideal user would never complain and be comprehensive? and say thank you about waht admins do. an ideal user needs to complain when things are broken, because otherwise admins don't know that something is broken. give constructive feedback, or do those things that everybody can do (like pointing out typos or translating pages)
Is the ideal user the one always saying "yes"? (Especially when they don't understand what's going on...)
its a big problem to get people wanting to be involved. You need to feel welcome to actually have motivation to get involved. Admin should way to think about the way you reply to daily requests! Shouldn't they add something like "If my explaination wasn't good enough, you could write it in a better way, maybe?"
the ideal user and the ideal admin would be the same person. people with root access can get very hungry about getting root on any other machine that they use, because they know how to shape it the way they want it
explain users what the problems are, and then they will react better the next time, but also building up relationships and then being able to also get sudo or so at some stage?
Should everyone that want an email address run their own mail server?
Towards more community run server?
Need more community server. Does smaller user base means friendlier environment, and more knowledge exchange?
Having more users that are not target for the police (which was an idea for defending our servers) is impossible if you know all the people directly...
Joke: having anarchist/non-anarchist ratio on the frontpage? ("Hey, this place has vacation for anarchists!")
Needs further discussion, though!
How can one have 360 degrees of knowledge? And be a specialist at the same time? Relying on other vs? autonomy...
"The movement wants to be general and specialised at the same time."
Some level of specialization is good, because otherwise you always stay in some middle. But it has to be transparent too. And should allow other people to jump in. Doing work by also sharing knowledge and technical skills.
How long will it takes for people to learn...? How long will it take to teach people? You never know in advance, but if you can never find out if you never try... What if you are akward at it? Then you need to learn teaching as an extral skill.
With computing, there is PASSWORDS! So even if you have knowledge you can't do anything.
Q: "Do you really want everybody to become a sysadim?" A: People want should be able to, and more and more people should get involved.
- training and documentation are an important; tools knowledge; more user written documentation.
- it's an important question to ask whether we want users to get involved and become sysadmin (on a technical and political level)
- how do we share knowledge? geeks and non-geeks often don't speak the same language. what kind of documentation, written by whom?
- organize parties! face-to-face meetings (think accross the server boundaries)
- even better: at least, says "Hi!" to new people on IRC
- Do we want users to be sysadmins? All? or those who want to?
- Do we want users to be at least knowledgable about security and political aspects as a basic point?
- Gender issues (will be dicusses on friday)
- Shouldn't sysadmins use more often the tools used by their very own users? How many sysadmins have actually used webmail? Often sysadmins and users use different tools. Aknowledge that. Let users take part in the documentation and in teaching. User tools need to be more powerful.