The FKI Induction Manual has as objective to provide new collaborators with an introduction to the way we work together within the FKI, to present its policies and procedures.
The FKI consists of a core team supported by a distributed network of partners and contributors working on various activities. In order to accommodate diverse groups collaborating on tasks of varying complexity and urgency, the following principles have been established:
We begin with a clear vision for the FKI and a shared understanding of its goals. The Map of Intermediate Objectives (IO Map) serves to detect needs to guide in designing, selecting and prioritising activities.
Our partners are diverse in terms of culture, positions held, experience, interests, language, geographical location, time zones, and have different levels of commitment or participation: activities vary from informal volunteer support to formalised project work. Hence, almost all our interactions are conducted with a combination of synchronous (usually IRC) and asynchronous (e.g. via wikis and forums) communication to maximise benefits.
When needed, and especially when there is a sense of urgency, we facilitate focused goal-directed face-to-face, teleconference and/or IRC interactions using free software tools to enable and record the interactions on-the-fly. Examples include free software for VoIP such as Ekiga, IRC tools, MediaWiki, LibreOffice with change tracking, etc. In order to assist the community and teams, services like mailing lists and web-based platforms, most noticeably the FTA Campus environment and the community platform are run on our servers.
Besides to facilitating participation and transparency, such services streamline recording of proceedings and enable involvement by others who are not able to be physically present at the time. The Induction Manual summarises various available tools.
Our values - also expressed in our Founding Principles - drive all our activities, and while we respect everyone's freedom of expression, our Code of Conduct suggests ways of being and behaving to maximise productive interaction.
As indicated in the IO Map above, communication is central to this strategy and merits a separate document. See Communication Strategy.
Different participants take different roles. Our collaboration within this common endeavour seeks to accommodate each one's passions and preferences and over the years the group members have each taken a certain role and set or responsibilities that fit them best. It might therefore be helpful to see how work has been divided up till now, so you can see how and who you can help best in each area. See FKI:People.
Participation takes place mainly through working groups. Most working groups make use of the FTA Community Platform and are listed here. You are welcome to join those groups of your interest and contribute in whatever way you think most appropriate, following the below defined Code of Conduct.
Tools and Spaces
We use many different online communication tools that facilitate our collaboration as distributed team. For our daily work we use IRC chats, mailing lists, wikis and the FTA Community Platform. On the platform we have various working groups and can engage with other community members through its social network features.
- Operating system: any Free Software based OS, like GNU/Linux. Please use any distribution you feel most comfortable with.
- Office: ODF formatted documents - recommended tools: LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org
- We have templates for letters and presentation slides with the FKI's visual identity
- Online Chat: IRC - we use this server: irc.freenode.net and these channels:
- General public channel: #freeknowledge
- FTA coordination channel: #fki-fta
- FKI core coordination team channel: #fki-core
- Mailing lists: apart from the many lists on free knowledge in general or on specific forms, we recommend you subscribe to some or all of the following lists:
- FKI General Discussion list (low traffic): http://mail.freeknowledge.eu/mailman/listinfo/discussion
- FKI Announce list (low traffic): http://mail.freeknowledge.eu/mailman/listinfo/fki-announce
- FTA General Discussion list: http://mail.freeknowledge.eu/mailman/listinfo/fta-discussion
- FTA Announce list: http://mail.freeknowledge.eu/mailman/listinfo/fta-announce
- FKI Core Team list: invitation only
- Phone: SIP protocol - recommended tools: Ekiga softphone, Linksys IP Phone. See FKI Phone and for external participants refer to FKI Phone: request an SIP account at the FKI SIP server.
- Email: IMAP & SMTP - recommended tools: Thunderbird, ... Or FKI webmail: mail.freeknowledge.eu
- Collaborative texts: Wiki - We have different Wikis:
- Collaborative Annotation of PDF documents: http://campus.ftacademy.org/annotation-tool
- Etherpad: we use Etherpad hosted by other groups
- We have various project management tools, like RedMine, Horde etc
- Social Network / Community Platform: http://campus.ftacademy.org/community/
- Microblogging: we prefer Status.net and its most used implementation, Identi.ca, before Twitter, as Status.net is Free Software and a Free Network Service. It is recommended to link your Twitter account (if you have one) to your identi.ca account, and post at identi.ca in such way that it is automatically republished by Twitter. This way you work on a Free Network Service but also reach out to those who are (still) on the proprietary platform. You could use hastag #freeknowledge and join these identi.ca groups:
- General FKI group: hashtag: !FK: http://identi.ca/group/freeknowledge
- General FTA group: hashtag: !FTA: http://identi.ca/group/fta
Currently we are also working on the Communication Strategy, its communication tools section will be coming up.
Policies and procedures
The FKI intents to keep bureaucracy out of our daily work, and tries to limit paperwork to the minimum required. Our passion lies in other areas that doing admin work. In order to keep our collaboration as agile, freedom-minded and passionate as we've had so far, our policies and procedures are mostly informal and dynamic. That said, there are guiding principles that help us achieve our mission as effective as we can.
Leadership and responsibility
We encourage leadership and people willing to take responsibility for relevant work. While the core responsibilities are informally divided by the founding and early members of the FKI, people interested in these areas can propose actions and make contributions and based on that earn a reputation and trust within the group. Accordingly, certain responsibilities can be transferred to those people depending on interests, availability and skills.
Decisions are made bottom-up: everyone is free to contribute and decides for her or himself. When contributions affect the group, consensus is sought within the group. We follow the rough consensus model as practised by the IETF.
When financial or legal decisions need to be made, these are generally agreed in the Core team and depending on the size or impact, by the FKI Board. The FKI Board members are personally liable for management decisions.
We respect the authors of a work highly, and in particular if the authors have licensed their work under a free license. In case FKI participants contribute their share to a collective work of authorship, we can assign the authorship to the FKI, to its individual authors or both. That generally depends on the type of work, e.g. a research paper is usually attributed to the individual authors, while a wiki page is attributed to the foundation (while each user's contribution can be traced back transparently). In the case of commissioned works, the authorship is by default attributed to the Foundation, unless otherwise agreed.
Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct presents the set of norms and guidelines that we try to follow within the Free Knowledge Institute.
We pride ourselves on building a productive, happy and agile community that can welcome new ideas in the exciting area of free knowledge and all its domains, and foster collaboration among groups with overlapping needs, interests and goals in line with the core values of the project.
Together we are building a list of recommended bibliography that helps us in our work. See http://freeknowledge.eu/wiki/index.php/Bibliography (needs to be rolled back after spam clean up!) Also of interest are some of our collaborative writings:
- Article and book chapter: "The Knowledge Society, from a freedom centred perspective", 2010
- Ten Points for Change: http://freeknowledge.eu/10-points-for-change
- The Free Culture Forum Charter: http://freeknowledge.eu/wiki/index.php/Free_Culture_Forum_Charter
- Request for Adherence to Open Standards in EU Bodies and EC programmes: http://freeknowledge.eu/documents/reference/EC_OS