What is NOT OpenTechSchool?

There has been a lot of dissent and discussion lately about where OpenTechSchool is heading. We started out with free-for-all workshops only but have adopted a couple of different formats. Some of these are easily in line (Learners Meetup, Stammtisch), some are trickier (Hackership, OTSConf.)

We have given a lot of leeway to local chapters, them almost acting independently of the global organization, and lived by the doers have the say.

Do we all agree that’s still a useful guideline, or are there limits to the OpenTechSchool brand? Which ones? Who gets to decide them?

Hi Robert, it’s a shame you were not able to join the OTS Review Meeting yesterday, as this was discussed. (I understand you were only available after 5pm.). May I suggest that we stay on that thread rather than starting a new one? I will suggest (on that thread) after I post this one, that a part 2 of the review meeting be held, as personally I felt that there are some people who should have been on that call (current board members, for example, plus folks from Dortmund). I’d love to have heard their (and your) points of view, on certain things, not through an email or a post (which can be toneless).

(I would kindly ask for this thread to stay on-topic, and not be merged into some other multithread.)

I’m really sorry if I sounded toneless. From the minutes I see this is a topic which we should discuss inclusively, and not in some secret cabal. (Don’t quote me on that one, hyperbole.)

There seems to be some serious concerns about the way OTSConf has been brought into the community. From what I can tell we have only learned from it when all was set. We had the same motions when discussing Hackership which, if I remember correctly, we deferred as “it’s not OTS, but it’s too much hassle to split right now.”

I’m not trying to advocate any certain outcome and I’m more than happy if the answer to my question is “Everything is OpenTechSchool!” But somebody has to take on the devil’s advocate and finally bring this question to a wider audience instead of letting it wail with ever-more-confused volunteers.

Again, this was discussed in the Review Meeting yesterday. Lots of good feedback and points of view. It would have been great if you made it (but I understand it’s difficult to get everyone on the same schedule, hence my suggestion here --> http://discourse.opentechschool.org/t/ots-review-meeting/1282/69?u=coderinheels.)

I would still ask others to chime in please.

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@coderinheels, the other thread is about so many other things!

At the Review meeting, we discussed at length and came up with the following idea:

  • OpenTechSchool events are free (as in: they cost no money). If they aren’t, they’re not in line with what people expect of us (the “brand”).
  • Hackership, OTSconf and School of Maa are projects that share the same goals as OTS, but are not free. Can anybody not live with this formula: “[Hackership, OTSconf, SchoolofMaa] is supported by OpenTechSchool.”

The idea is to provide space for everything, make things possible, but still keep with this sentence on http://www.opentechschool.org/about:

OpenTechSchool is a movement aiming to offer free tech education.

thanks @mamhoff for quote the outcome of review meeting

I don’t know if make sense to open another trend about this.
Anyway at the review meeting we decide that guidline will help to define better what is and what is not OTS and how to deal with ideas and cases that are not common OTS.
Guideline is of course a solution proposal we had. We think is a great idea to at least start to move in some direction to clarify the topic to others but in first place to us!
We believe that creation of guideline will bring up many more quetsions and concern that the team that will write them == whoever is intereted about it, will deal with at that time.
@rachel is already in charge of creating a meeting and getting those intereted people together
so please check Discourse for any update on this topic

I’m confused — this thread was the attempt to create to these very guidelines without haggling to get everyone together (which, as we’ve seen, we’re not too successful with any more. :relieved:)

hi @robert i think its always a sensitive thing too with the subject title. What is NOT opentechschool doesn’t exactly say something specific like “Guidelines!: Let’s talk about it!” . :slight_smile:

anyway, im just writing in here what was on my agenda to get people to talk about and then maybe we could talk/ figure out best next steps.

  1. OTS branding and PR (read over whats there, clarify things as needed, suggest changes as necessary)
  2. the extra wording in OTS vs OTS supports? (re: free vs. fees and supporters with same values etc.)
  3. text to describe: What determines whether you do something on your own vs. bring it up to the larger OTS community for approval first?

Not sure if this is the right place, but today I saw this: http://www.fiware-forum.eu/#schedule

Their headline is: “Open Tech Startup Forum”


I’m wonderung what the relevant docs would be. I see:

The About doc already has a short paragraph on History; I think that should be expanded on. Other than that, the values are still fine IMO. Largest part probably goes to the promotion guidelines; New user guide should maybe put stronger emphasis on actually onboarding new members by providing must-read links.

@bettina: Yes, I think the parts of our name are somewhat non-unique. :slight_smile: “Open Tech School” I’ve not seen claimed by others yet, though.

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originally i agreed to set up a meeting to discuss:

OTS branding and PR stuff:

  1. the extra wording in OTS vs OTS supports

  2. What determines whether you do something on your own vs. bring it up to the larger OTS community
    for approval first

what about something like:

OpenTechSchool is a movement aiming to offer free tech education. As time has passed, our community has expanded. OpenTechSchool supports projects which have grown out of the OpenTechSchool movement, sharing the same goals and values but requiring a fee for participation. Currently, these organisations and events include: Hackership, School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe, OTSConf.

Projects supported by OTS follow this criteria:
The organisation:

1)is aligned with OTS values
2) includes a majority of the organisers who are involved in OTS organising
3) agrees that money earned over costs from these organisations goes back into OTS
4) must be approved by the foundation board which has final say on OTS support

other than this question:
does it cost/require money or funding?

what else would a group need to ask themselves in order to be obligated to bring it to their idea to the larger community first?

if we could work this issue out in the forum thats great but we can also skype this out if necessary.
i fear a doodle that has a million times and time-zones. but if you’re interested let me know:)

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I can’t think of any counterindications other than cost currently, so for now here are just a couple of general comments:

Could we clarify what this means? Just having them in some kind of link roll in our Web site? Sharing our infrastructure with them? Allowing them to use the OpenTechSchool brand? Accepting charitable donations in their name? (Note: We have done ALL of the aforementioned, so none of these are out of the blue.)

For reference, they’re documented on our About page. Do these need a rework as well?

I think this is a hard requirement to implement. What does “involved in OTS organising” mean? Spending X hours per week on OpenTechSchool? Having hosted Y events in the past? Owning an opentechschool.org account? Being friends with at least Z members of the board?

I would rather not give more power to the Board and have this handed down to the members. See my proposal for a Charter amendment.

OTS Support can mean any or all of the above:
Link on the website
Sharing infrastructure
Permission to use the OTS brand as supporting institution
Acting as fiscal sponsor (accepting charitable donations)

others can disagree but i think this means actively working within the OTS organisation as organiser and/or coach at regular events.

i guess the idea is , checks and balances is always a nice idea. but if the board doesn’t want the power thats fine, in that case it goes to the community members to decide. (which leads to another discussion topic about quorum and how official decisions are / can be made

Coming late in the discussion, but thought the opinion of another chapter might interest you. When deciding to join OTS and not doing something on my own, two main stuff played : 1) horizontal learning, 2) it’s aggressively free and open. (read very free/open if you prefer.)

Among others, the implied idea of not promoting paid event seemed weird at first (and a pain for me a few times), but it’s a good example of what made me love OTS. Being completly free & open, no matter if it’s the workshops, the event, or what can be read in the communication ; this is the kind of rule that not just rule over behaviors but the kind of rule that defines a spirit.

Forcing the free & openness against other constrains, putting them first, pushing them forward… It taught me a lot. Some event will always be paying and that’s alright (I’m doing some myself), but what I loved in OTS is that when you see those letters, you knew you had none of those and what followed (among others, the variety of people attending the events).

Sorry if this is considering side tracking (haven’t interacted much with the main OTS branch lately, mea culpa!), I thought this might resonate with some.



Thanks a lot for sharing your perspective!

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