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This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

I recently put together this reading list on queer intersectionality for a local LGBTIQ group, as part of thinking about how we can serve a wider community of same-sex attracted and gender diverse folks. I thought it might be useful to share it more widely.

For context, this is a 101 level reading list for people with a bare understanding of the concept of intersectionality. If you’re not familiar with that you might want to read Wikipedia’s article on intersectionality.

Interview with Kimberlé Crenshaw, who named and popularised the concept of intersectionality — I think it’s important that we remember and give credit to Professor Crenshaw and the black movements whose ideas we’re using, which is why I’m including this link first.

Intersectionality draws attention to invisibilities that exist in feminism, in anti-racism, in class politics, so obviously it takes a lot of work to consistently challenge ourselves to be attentive to aspects of power that we don’t ourselves experience.” But, she stresses, this has been the project of black feminism since its very inception: drawing attention to the erasures, to the ways that “women of colour are invisible in plain sight”.

“Within any power system,” she continues, “there is always a moment – and sometimes it lasts a century – of resistance to the implications of that. So we shouldn’t really be surprised about it.”

An excellent article about the New York group Queers for Economic Justice:

“You would never know that poverty or class is a queer issue,” said Amber Hollibaugh, QEJ Executive Director and founding member. She continued: “Founding QEJ was, for many of us that were part of it, a statement of …wanting to try to build something that assumed a different set of priorities [than the mainstream gay equality movement]: that talked about homelessness, that talked about poverty, that talked about race and sexuality and didn’t divide those things as if they were separate identities. And most of us that were founding members couldn’t find that anywhere else.”

An interesting personal reflection on intersectionality by a queer Asian woman in NZ:

On the other side, if I’m having issues in my queer relationship with my white partner the discourse my mum uses is that same-gender relationships just don’t work and aren’t supposed to work. Find a (Chinese) man, get married and have babies like she did. You don’t have to love him to begin with but you will grow to love him. Like my mum did, apparently. It’s like if you’re queer and there’s problems in your relationship it’s because you’re queer and the solution is to be heterosexual. If you’re Chinese and there’s problems with your family it’s because Chinese culture is just more conservative or backward and the solution is to distance yourself away from it or try to assimilate into Pakeha culture. It shouldn’t have to be like this.

An article about intersectionality and climate justice (not very queer-oriented but some interesting stuff to think about):

On a personal level, we have to slow down and educate ourselves so that we can name the toxic systems within which we exist. We have to relearn the real histories of the land, of resistance movements and what it has taken for communities survive. We must also take the time to talk through all of the connections so that we can build a deeper analysis of the crises we face. During this process, it’s important that we commit to the slow time of genuine relationship-building, especially as we learn to walk into communities that we’re not a part of in respectful ways. From there, we create space to truly hear each other’s stories and bring people together in ways that, as Dayaneni says, “we can see ourselves in each other.”

A speech about queerness and disability:

This gathering has been very white and for the most part has neglected issues of race and racism. All of us here in this room today need to listen to queer disabled people of color and their experiences. We need to fit race and racism into the matrix of queerness and disability. I need to ask myself, not only “What does it mean to be a pansexual tranny with a long butch dyke history, a walkie with a disability that I acquired at birth,” but also, “What does it mean to be a white queer crip?”

We haven’t asked enough questions about class, about the experiences of being poor and disabled, of struggling with hunger, homelessness, and a lack of the most basic healthcare. I want to hear from working class folks who learned about disability from bone-breaking work in the factory or mine or sweatshop.

We need more exploration of gender identity and disability. How do the two inform each other? I can feel the sparks fly as disabled trans people are just beginning to find each other. We need to listen more to Deaf culture, to people with psych disabilities, cognitive disability, to young people and old people. We need not to re-create here in this space, in this budding community, the hierarchies that exist in other disability communities, other queer communities.

And finally, Beyond the Queer Alphabet (ebook) — an entire book on the subject of queer intersectionality.

If you’ve got any other recommended reading, I’d appreciate hearing about it.

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This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

So this happened.

I like to think that in another, better, universe, it went like this:

When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of people who matched our expectations about what a “real” person was, but excluded many other real people, with real identities and real names that we didn’t understand.

We apologise unreservedly to those people, who through our actions were marginalised, denied access to services, and whose identities we treated as lesser. We especially apologise to those who were already marginalised, discriminated against, or unsafe, such as queer youth or victims of domestic violence, whose already difficult situations were worsened through our actions. We also apologise specifically to those whose accounts were banned, not only for refusing them access to our services, but for the poor treatment they received from our staff when they sought support.

Everyone is entitled to their own identity, to use the name that they are given or choose to use, without being told that their name is unacceptable. Everyone is entitled to safety online. Everyone is entitled to be themselves, without fear, and without having to contort themselves to meet arbitrary standards.

As of today, all name restrictions on Google+ have been lifted, and you may use your own name, whatever it is, or a chosen nickname or pseudonym to identify yourself on our service. We believe that this is the only just and right thing to do, and that it can only strengthen our community.

As a company, and as individuals within Google, we have done a lot of hard thinking and had a lot of difficult discussions. We realise that we are still learning, and while we appreciate feedback and suggestions in this regard, we have also undertaken to educate ourselves. We are partnering with LGBTQ groups, sexual abuse survivor groups, immigrant groups, and others to provide workshops to our staff to help them better understand the needs of all our users.

We also wish to let you know that we have ensured that no copies of identification documents (such as drivers’ licenses and passports), which were required of users whose names we did not approve, have been kept on our servers. The deletion of these materials has been done in accordance with the highest standards.

If you have any questions about these changes, you may contact our support/PR team at the following address (you do not require a Google account to do so). If you are unhappy, further support can be found through our Google User Ombuds, who advocates on behalf of our users and can assist in resolving any problems.

I’m glad they made the policy change. But I sure would have liked to see some recognition of the harm done, and a clearer demonstration that they don’t think that “real people” and “people who were excluded” are non-intersecting sets.

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This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

Through May/June I was travelling in the US, to a number of feminist and tech events including WisCon, AdaCamp and Open Source Bridge.

I gave talks, ran unconference sessions, and sat on panels at each event, as well as talking to lots of smart people doing good stuff. In between, I hung out with remote colleagues and met new ones in spaces like San Francisco’s feminist hackerspace Double Union.

Along the way, I made three realisations, all of which are related to community in some way.

1. Community is my career, now

Especially at AdaCamp and OSB, I found myself looking at the schedule and considering which talks and sessions were right for me.

I find I’m no longer interested in most of the tech talks — if I want to learn about a specific technology, I can usually do so more effectively online when I need it. I used to go to those sessions out of a sense of duty, but now I’m out of the tech industry and working for myself, I don’t have to fake it any more. I still go to some tech talks, but usually to see what cool stuff other people are working on, not because it’s particularly relevant to my work.

Then there were the community sessions, ones covering topics like how to create a welcoming environment for newbies to your open source project, moderation strategies for online forums, and distributed agile development. All interesting and worthwhile topics, but ones I’ve been dealing with for years.

Back in 2009, I attended SXSW (and hated it, but that’s another story) and went to a session for first-timers, where someone gave the advice: “Never attend a session whose subject you already know about.” You’ll sit in the audience either bored, or frustrated. Without wanting to denigrate the excellent community sessions at the conferences I went to, I do have to say that a lot of them fell into this category for me. I attended to support my friends who were speaking, and I certainly picked up a few interesting tips, but if my goal was to learn new things then I’m not really sure these sessions were worth my time.

My realisation, over lunch on the first day of OSB (and thanks to Sara Smollett for helping me figure this out), is that I’m a mid-career community organiser. This is why open tech/culture events aren’t working for me — the tech content is no longer particularly useful to me, and the community content tends toward the 101 level.

So, how can I advance my skills and experience as a community organiser? Community management events in the tech field aren’t going to do it. I need to look wider, at fields with more established community theory and practice: social work, activism, politics, organisational behaviour, social psychology, just to name a few. So this is what I’m doing now: trying to learn and level up my community skills by reading and studying in these areas. Next year, I hope I’ll find a way to get to conferences that cover those areas in depth.

2. Community organiser, not community manager

The second realisation I had is around terminology.

Management is a business term. Organizing is a political one. I’m more interested in community organizing — helping people come together to achieve social change — than in managing people for business purposes.

I came to this realisation through my efforts to study things from outside the online/tech community management field. I’m re-reading Jane Jacobs’ “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, which talks about what makes effective neighbourhoods. Jacobs was instrumental in organising her neighbourhood community to resist having a freeway put through it in the 1950s. Reading about her on Wikipedia I found that she appreciated the work of Saul Alinksky, considered to be the founder of modern community organizing.

That’s when it clicked for me. Community organising is a practice with a long and successful history of working for social and political change, and community organisers aren’t afraid to upset those in power to make a better world. That’s what I want to be doing.

So, from now on I am using the term “community organiser” rather than “community manager” about my own work. Reframing it this way has given me a new perspective and momentum. I have a lot to learn, but at least I’m clear on what direction I’m heading in.

3. I’m still not an open source person

Back in 2011 I wrote Why I’m not an open source person any more, and reading back over it, it still holds true… mostly.

At AdaCamp someone requested an “introduction to open source” session in the 101 timeslots, and I since I wasn’t interested in most of the of the other 101 sessions and knew the subject well, I stepped up to run it. I talked about licensing, culture, and software development practices. I hope it was useful to the people who attended, but I felt unsatisfied by it. It’s not what I wanted to be doing.

The next day, someone asked me if I would help them promote their open source outreach program in Australia. I said, regretfully, that I wasn’t up for that. Open source isn’t my thing any more, and I don’t have the enthusiasm to do a good job of it. She pushed me, and I pushed back, and I came away really frustrated — partly that I hadn’t been listened to, but also partly because I had had trouble expressing my own boundaries and needs, because I didn’t really understand them myself.

Well, reframing my community work as political has helped me figure that out. For me, open source is a tool for social change. Specifically, I’m interested in social justice and sustainability, and I use open source toward those ends.

If someone asks me to do something simply “because it’s open source” (or open data, or open access, or whatever other kind of open stuff), I’m not going to be into that. I’ll need a lot of convincing that open source is a worthwhile end goal in its own right.

If someone asks me to do something open-source related that’s for another social or political goal that I support (say, government transparency, or individual privacy) then I’ll wish them well and help spread the word, but it’s not where my focus is.

I use open source and other open-licensed stuff as a tool for social change, especially in the areas of social justice and sustainability. But it’s just one part of my toolkit. I’m not an open source person any more. I’m a community organiser who uses open source.

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This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

I finally got around to uploading the second set of slides from my talks at Open Source Bridge, so here they are.

First up, Knitting for Programmers teaches you how to knit something more interesting than a rectangle, using geometry and common design patterns.

You can also view on Speakerdeck or download the PDF.

Secondly, Feminist Point of View: A Geek Feminist Retrospective was a review of the 6 years of the Geek Feminism wiki and blog, and the lessons we’ve learned from doing this.

View on Speakerdeck, download the PDF, or view the interactive HTML slides (which contain all the links to related content, so I recommend you do that if you want to read more.)

Finally, I also ran an unconference session on “Advanced” community management (link leads to wiki notes from the session), where we discussed how to level-up our skills in community management and related fields, beyond the 101 level that’s often discussed at tech events like OSB.

Open Source Bridge is a great event, focusing on “open source citizenship”, and has a fantastic mix of talks and activities beyond what you normally find at a tech conference. Both the organising team and speaker roster are pretty diverse, and they go out of their way to make the event accessible and inclusive.

Coral Sheldon-Hess wrote a great post on conference inclusiveness which really shows how effective events like this can be. Julie Pagano’s conference recap also gives a good sense of the event, and reviews some of the other talks given there.

If you’re able to get to Portland next year, I highly recommend attending.

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This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

I emerged from WisCon last weekend invigorated and inspired (and, okay, a bit sleep deprived). I have a whole lot of new things I want to work on, in addition to all the things I’m already doing, and I thought I might just take the time to write down what my current projects are, since I realised that even I don’t have a clear idea of them all, let alone making them clear to other people.

And so:

  • Growstuff – founder and tech lead on this open source/open data project for people who grow their own food.
    • Working on a combination of features and developer experience (i.e. making it nicer/easier for developers to contribute)
    • We have/had a side-project app, Pear, for arranging pair programming sessions across different timezones, but it wasn’t entirely working out for us, so I’m not sure what its future is; still, I think it was a good concept and I’m hoping we can find the time/inspiration to make it more useful.
    • By the way, Growstuff is having a hack night in San Francisco on the 18th of June.
  • 3000 Acres – tech lead for this non-profit which is helping people in Melbourne start community gardens on vacant land
    • I’ve mostly been working on features but now I’m shifting my efforts more toward…
    • … nurturing our nascent volunteer tech community, documenting our code and processes, etc, so that the project can be maintained beyond the initial government grant funding.
    • Soon, I hope this platform will be rolling out to other Australian cities and that I can be involved with that.
  • I do some tech work for Appropedia, a wiki of sustainable solutions to the world’s problems. It’s Semantic Mediawiki and my work is a mix of sysadmin, wiki admin, and semantic ontology stuff.
  • I just volunteered to help WisCon with their open source app for managing conventions; WisCon’s programming is democratic and mostly panel-based, and their code is used by at least one other SFF convention, but if improved could be used by more cons and attract more developers. I’m particularly interested in developer experience (DX), best practices for open source projects, and making it easier for people to contribute. Not sure where this will lead but I have a lot of ideas buzzing, and I’m looking forward to talking more with them about it.
  • As an offshoot of working on various non-profit tech projects, I wrote I want to help!, a set of questionaires to help techies talk to non-profits or other such orgs about their tech needs, rather than just swanning in with an “I know what you need!” attitude (something I struggle with myself).
  • I founded and am still actively involved in the Geek Feminism wiki and blog, although I have stepped down from some of my administrative duties there (and I’m really glad we are finding more sustainable/higher-bus-number ways of admining those resources/communities!).
    • One resource I’m working on at present (we started the draft at WisCon) is a document of resources for therapists, aka a FAQ/101 document on misogyny in tech/geek circles that you can give to your therapist to bring them up to speed, because we’re all sick of explaining this stuff over and over again. We also hope to make a list of tech-misogyny-aware therapists so that those of us facing harassment/etc can find support without having to do a heap of education first.
    • I am co-organising a gathering of Australian feminists (especially those within a degree or two of separation from Geek Feminism) to be held later this year. I’m hoping this weekend-long event will be an incubator for more geeky feminist stuff in Australia.
  • I co-founded a women’s tech meetup group in Melbourne called the Disreputable Order of Hopperites. It’s on hiatus as all the organisers moved away, but I don’t consider it dead and am wondering how/whether to revive it, either locally or as a concept that can be spread to other geographical areas. I really loved the format (women + guests, short talks on technical subjects, grassroots/non-commercial, and aimed at a variety of skill levels) and wish there were more of that around.
  • In collaboration with a handful of artists and beta-readers, I’m working on a zine about genderqueer/non-binary genders/etc, probably about 40 pages long, full of 101-level information and resources for people who are exploring non-binary gender or for their friends/family/associates/allies to understand them better.
  • I am also working on a zine about sandwiches, which is actually a stealth manifesto about home cooking. It’s aimed at people who are daunted and frustrated by trying to learn to cook and by “easy”/”beginner” cookbooks that assume too much. Making sandwiches is pretty un-daunting, though, and you can learn an awful lot by doing it, if you just realise that even things as basic as going to the supermarket, estimating quantities, choosing flavours you enjoy, and knowing what’s in your fridge/pantry are skills that you can learn and improve.
  • I run a monthly craft night at my house. This is my first step in trying to open my home up to a variety of community activities/gatherings. I have the space for it and love hosting, so I want more of this. (I also host ad-hoc food preservation days, and hope to do more of that.)
  • I’m preparing two talks for Open Source Bridge this year:
    • a history of Geek Feminism and lessons learned so far; as part of this I have been preparing the Geek Feminism Family Tree documenting which geeky/feminist/women-in-blah orgs influenced which others, and so on.
    • “knitting for programmers” — teaching design patterns in knitting so that if you know the basic stitches, you can knit any garment
  • I co-created and maintain Written? Kitten!, a writing productivity tool used by about 30,000 writers every month (and more around november during NaNoWriMo). You write 100 words, you get rewarded by a cute fuzzy kitten (or puppy or bunny or whatever). Surprisingly, and yet unsurprisingly, popular!
  • A few months ago, I taught at the first iteration of the Fitzroy Institute of Getting Shit Done, a bootcamp style event for people who want to learn how to, well, do what it says on the tin. I was their “technology expert” (I feel funny saying that, but probably shouldn’t) and taught a mostly non-technical class about how to communicate about technical ideas, choose tech platforms/products, manage tech projects, and spread their ideas through openness (licensing, APIs, etc). I really want to teach this, or something like it, again — especially to social enterprises, non-profits, and others doing Good Things.

I think that’s most of what I’ve been up to this year. No wonder I feel busy.

Many/most of these projects are open/community-based and welcome volunteers — if you’re interested, drop me a line.

Or, you can help support my work through Gittip. I find it hard to ask for money this way, but your support really does make a difference to my ability to do non-commercial/open/community-based stuff, so if you value my work please consider tossing a few bucks my way. I am no longer using Gittip after this bullshit by its founder.

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I'm off to the US tomorrow. My itinerary is roughly:

May 16-18: San Francisco (jetlagged, low-key)
May 19-June 5: Madison (including WisCon)
June 6-19: San Francisco again
June 20-29: Portland (AdaCamp and Open Source Bridge)

If anyone would like to catch up while I'm there please let me know! Obviously I'll see a bunch of you at the various conferences and things, but apart from that, yeah. Especially in Madison and SF; PDX is likely to be booked pretty tightly already as I'm basically just there for the confs.

There will be some Growstuff... stuff... while I'm there. Haven't figured out exact details yet but if you are a Growstuff person and would like to be kept in the loop lmk. (Likely: a meal or other social gathering around WisCon, and a more technical hack night or something in SF. Would also be interested in visiting any community gardens or connecting with other projects along those lines!)
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I know there's some crossover between people involved in Growstuff and those attending WisCon at the end of the month.

If you're in that crossover group, can you raise your hand? I would love to catch up with you when I'm there. And if there are enough of us, maybe we could arrange an informal gathering at some point? Maybe a group meal?
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This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

This is probably going to be a wildly unpopular opinion and IDGAF. So many of my non-technical friends are freaking out that I feel the need to provide a bit of reassurance/reality.

First, an analogy.

In 2005 we learned that you can open a Kryptonite U-lock with a ballpoint pen. Everyone freaked out and changed their bike locks ASAP. Remember that?

Now, I wasn’t riding a bike at the time, but I started riding a bike a few years later in San Francisco, and I know how widespread bike theft is there. I used multiple levels of protection for my bike: a good lock, fancy locking posts on the seat and handlebars, and I parked my bike somewhere secure (work, home) about 90% of the time and only locked it up in public for short periods. Everywhere I went I saw sad, dismembered bike frames hanging forlornly from railings, reminding me of the danger. Those were paranoid times, and if I’d been riding in SF in 2005 you can bet I would have been first in line to replace my U-lock.

These days I live in Ballarat, a country town in Victoria, Australia. Few people ride bikes here and even fewer steal them. I happily leave my bike unlocked on friends’ front porches, dump it under a tree while I watch birds on the lake, lean it against the front of a shop just locked to itself while I grab a coffee, or park it outside divey music venues while I attend gigs late at night. I have approximately zero expectation of anything happening to it. If I heard that my bike lock had been compromised, I wouldn’t be in too desperate a hurry to change it.

Here’s the thing: if you are an ordinary Jane or Joe living the Internet equivalent of my cycling life in Ballarat, you don’t need to freak out about this thing.

Here are some websites I use where I’m not going to bother changing my password:

  • The place where I save interesting recipes
  • The one I go to to look at gifs of people in bands
  • That guitar forum
  • The one with the cool jewelry
  • The wiki I edit occasionally
  • The social network I only signed up for out of a sense of obligation but never use

Why? Because a) probably nobody’s going to bother trying to steal the passwords from there, and b) even if they did, so what?

This Heartbleed bug effectively reduces the privacy of an SSL-protected site (one whose URL starts with https://, which will probably show a lock in your browser’s address bar) to that of one without. Would you login to a site without SSL? Do you even know if the site uses SSL? If you’d login to your pet/recipe/knitting/music site anyway — if you’d do it from a coffee shop or airport — if you’d do it from a laptop or tablet or phone doesn’t have a strong password on it — if you don’t use two-factor authentication or don’t know what that means — then basically this won’t matter to you.

(I’m not saying it shouldn’t matter. You should probably set strong passwords and use VPNs and two-factor authentication. Just like you should probably lock your bike up everywhere you go, floss, and get your pap smears on the regular. Right? Right? *crickets*)

So if you’re a regular Jane — not working in IT security, not keeping state secrets, etc — here’s where you really need to change your passwords:

  • Any site you use to login to other sites (eg. Google, Facebook)
  • Any site that gives access to a good chunk of your money with just your password (eg. your bank, PayPal, Amazon)

(To do this: use this site to check if the site in question is affected, then if it’s “all clear” change your password. Don’t bother changing your password on a still-affected site, as that defeats the purpose. Oh, and you should probably change your passwords on those sites semi-regularly anyway, like maybe when you change the batteries in your smoke alarm. Which I just realised I should have done the other day and didn’t. Which tells you everything, really.)

Beyond those couple of key websites, you need to do a little risk assessment. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Has anyone ever heard of this site? Does anyone care? Is it likely to be a target of ominous dudes in balaclavas?
  • If I lost my login to this site, or someone could snoop what I had on that account, what is the worst that could happen?

If your answer is “I’d lose my job” or “I absolutely cannot survive without my extensive collection of Bucky/Steve fanart” then by all means change your password.

If your answer is “Eh, I’d sign up for a new one” or “Wait, even I’d forgotten that site existed” then you can probably stop freaking out quite so much.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Internet security expert, just a moderately well-informed techhead. Some people, including better-informed ones, will disagree with me. You take this advice at your own risk. La la la what the fuck ever, you’ll most likely be fine.

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This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

As you might know, I’ve been working on 3000 Acres over the last few months. My time there is almost up and they’re looking for volunteers to continue developing the site. If anyone in the Melbourne area is interested in working with me on this, and then taking it over, please get in touch! It would be a great way to get involved in a tech project for sustainability/social good, and the 3000 Acres team are lovely people with a great vision. Feel free to drop me an email or ping me via whatever other means is convenient, and please help us get the word out.

3000 Acres connects people with vacant land to help them start community gardens. In 2013 3000 Acres was the winner of the VicHealth Seed Challenge, and is supported by VicHealth and The Australian Centre for Social Innnovation (TACSI) along with a range of partners from the sustainability, horticulture, and urban planning fields. We are in the process of incorporating as a non-profit.

Our website, which is the main way people interact with us, launched in February 2014. The site helps people map vacant lots, connect with other community members, and find community garden resources. Since our launch we have continued to improve and add features to our site.

So far, our web development has been done by one part-time developer. We are looking for another (or multiple) volunteer developers to help us continue to improve the site, and to help make our code ready to roll out to other cities.

We’re looking for someone with the following skills and experience:

  • Intermediate level Rails experience (or less Rails experience but strong backend web experience in general). You should be comfortable using an MVC framework, designing data structures, coding complex features, etc.
  • Comfort with CSS and Javascript (we mostly use Bootstrap 3.0 and Leaflet.js) and with light design work (eg. layout, icons)
  • Familiarity with agile software development, including iteration planning, test driven development, continuous integration, etc.
  • Strong communication skills: you’ll particularly use them for writing web copy, advising on information architecture, and project management.
  • You should be in Melbourne or able to travel regularly to Melbourne to meet with us. Phone, Skype, and screen sharing may also be used — our current developer is based in Ballarat.

We welcome applications from people of diverse backgrounds, and are flexible in our requirements; if you think you have skills that would work, even if they don’t match the above description exactly, please get in touch.

We envision this role being around 8 hours a week ongoing (somewhat flexible, and mostly from your own location). Initially you will work closely with our current developer, who can provide in-depth training/mentoring and documentation on our existing infrastructure and processes. Over the next 3 months you will become increasingly independent, after which time you will be expected to be able to create and maintain high-quality code without close technical supervision.

For more information you can check out:

If you’re interested in working with us, please drop Alex an email at No resume required — just let us know a bit about yourself, your experience, and why you want to work with us. If you can show us an example of some relevant work you’ve done in the past, that would be fantastic.


Mar. 25th, 2014 02:05 pm
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Living: so much better than last time I posted! I think my slump has passed. House is still a mess but IDGAF because being a grownup means I can make my own choices about piles of dirty dishes SO THERE.

Working: Lots more! Picked up the project I lost notes for and just figured it out all over again. Agreed to do a project that is not-quite-my-thing but will make me way less stressed about money over the next few months. Also sent out a Growstuff newsletter to people from SLF and am starting to gain a little momentum there again. Oh, and just sent a surprisingly large invoice! It was a total handshake deal (which I didn't mind because it was something I wanted to do anyway, for my own reasons) and I misunderstood the terms of payment, and then it turns out it was 3 times larger than I thought. \o/ Also, it turns out that AdaCamp is happening in PDX in June right before Open Source Bridge and I *definitely* want to get to both of them now, and take in WisCon on the same trip. So I am starting to think about OSB talks. Fingers crossed I can get some help with travel costs because even with the aforementioned stuff, I can't *really* afford it myself, at least not if I also want to have a laptop that is new enough to be within warranty and doesn't have a failing battery :-/ But I am optimistic. One way or another I'll try and make this happen.

Playing: Lots! Went for an awesome bike ride with [personal profile] celuran on Saturday (the south section of the Yarrowee River trail) which came to a bit under 20k all up, I think, mostly on creekside gravel paths with intermittent but not deadly hills. It was nice. I want to do more. Then on Saturday night we went to the rodeo, which was a cultural experience. Honestly I expected more country music and less Beyonce and Gangnam Style. I had fun but it was cold and I think, all in all, I prefer Australian country sports (woodchopping, sheepdog trials, etc). But it was still $20 worth of entertainment and I got one of those curly potatoes on a stick which is basically all I ask for in life. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL. On Sunday I went to a gig at the Karova Lounge: Smith Street Band supported by the Menzingers. Honestly I went for the Menzingers, who did a good set but the crowd didn't really know them and basically I wished I was seeing them at Gilman or something. Then SSB came on and the crowd were really into them so I just pretty much pushed into the mosh pit and let myself move with the crush and it was good and sweaty and loud and just what I needed. I left before the set finished because I was feeling good and wanted it to stay that way. Then some jerkwads tried to assault me/push me off my bike outside the Peter Lalor Hotel on Mair St on the way home, and I swore at them and they ran away, and then I reported them to the police, which in retrospect I regret. I do want someone to know about/have stats on the bike harassment/assaults that go on in this town, but now I'm thinking I probably could have a) dealt with it myself, and b) dissuaded those kids from doing it again, without involving ~~THE MAN~~. They were just scrawny dickhead teenagers and they were scared enough to run away when I shouted at them, so it wasn't actually dangerous. (Err, not that any of this really counts under "playing" but it happened after that gig, so.) What else? Had assessment/session/thingy with trainer at the gym and am keen to get a programme and start working out seriously again. Have lost a lot of my strength but not my technique. Still playing guitar pretty regularly, mostly just zoning out on scales and exercises and stuff because that's relaxing for me right now.

Reading: fic re-reads still.

Watching: Just watched "The Punk Singer", the documentary about Kathleen Hanna that came out last year. It was a great documentary, which I highly recommend. Surprising too. I didn't realise it was going to go in the direction it did. Hmmm what else. I've been watching a few eps of Best Ink which is kind of crappy but fun, you know? I really don't like watching people fail though :( Really haven't been spending much time watching TV like things lately, though, I think because I don't have a physical TV/screen apart from my laptop, which means I can either dork around online or watch things but not both. Or at least not as easily.

Listening: Right now, the Butchies. Over the last week or two, a more or less rotating playlist of 90s-00s women/women-fronted punk/indie/alternative/etc bands. We listened to a buttload of Garbage and Veruca Salt at craft night last week, for instance.

Wearing: I really need new pants/trousers. I only have one pair that fits. Where do I even buy pants that fit, given that my constraints are 1) plus size, 2) short, 3) natural fibre, 3) not complete crap? (Other than waiting until ~~June and doing it in the US.) I am sewing some stuff but that's mostly dagging-around-the-house pants. My sewing skills aren't currently up to anything more fitted/tailored than that and I do need some kind of decent stuff to wear to meetings and stuff. Like, jeans would be fine, but trackpants not so much, you know?

Making: Err, when I say "I am sewing some stuff" I mean that the supplies are strewn all around my living room but I haven't actually done anything in the last couple of weeks /o\ I did finish a cowl I was knitting though -- a simple textured stitch and fairly narrow shape so it's basically for bike riding when it's cold.

Health: Good! Feeling as physically healthy as I have in a while, I think largely because of the hours every week I'm spending on my bike just getting around. Got a flu vaccination yesterday. Eating fairly regularly and well (though somewhat stymied by kitchen mess/procrastination wrt keeping supplies up). New therapist continues awesome, but hard (and I'm still using a lot of cycles thinking about stuff related to that).
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Living: In a mixed state between "like a motherfucking grownup" and "why can't I get my shit together". Was meant to have a house inspection last week and tidied up for it, then the agent didn't have a key that worked so now he's coming again tomorrow. In which time the house has got messy again. Dammit.

Working: Not much. I lost some notes for one project and had to arrange a Skype call to figure it all out again, sigh. Had meetings in Melbourne last week which went well, including one which re-enthused me about another project. But overall I've been short on motivation and organisation and I really need to a) do some billable hours to pay rent, and b) get shit moving on Growstuff, as there's a handful of features just sitting in limbo. Stupid brainweasels, sigh.

Playing: Went to a punk gig in the 'Rat the other night. Small venue (back room of a pub), two bands, pretty good times but I'm definitely missing Gilman *sob* Joined the gym last week and went swimming; I'm seeing a trainer for an assessment etc next week and going to do some sessions with her (functional fitness, weights, etc). Got out the electric guitar to play around with it a bit, but I need to acquire a little practice amp again before I can do much with it.

Reading: Comfort reading, mostly fic I've read before (same as last week).

Watching: Watched some of Orphan Black with [personal profile] were_duck, otherwise not much.

Listening: (new item added to the list) Got around to listening to the not-actually-new-anymore FOB album and had it on repeat for a few days -- I love about half of the album and don't hate the other half. Today I've been fiddling with my iTunes playlists a lot to make more women show up in my "Radio Skud" mix. I think I need to make some new playlists for work and and for evening chillout/bedtime.

Wearing: (new item added to the list) I added this to the list not because I'm wearing anything particularly interesting (tshirt, hoodie, trackpants, uggs) but because I got an awesome haircut last week and it's making me very happy. It's not quite Jedward but it definitely started there and wound up somewhere around "messy quiff". I love my hairdresser in Melbourne, who can roll with that sort of thing without making a big deal of it, never uses shampoo on my hair, understands the pure, perfect bliss of a #1 clipper job that will stay at the perfect fuzzy pettable length for at least a week, and only charged me for a "men's" haircut. So good. Oh also, this is a pretty fab sports/binding bra if you like that sort of thing.

Making: Not much this week. Bread -- I'm gradually converting Rocky the sourdough starter over to wheat flour (from rye). I made some very tasty stir fry the other day. Little bit of knitting but not much. Craft night here on Tuesday.

Health: New therapist continues awesome. We've been talking a lot about gender, and about my mother (who died when I was little). As mentioned above, joined the gym, which in my head is more "playing" than "health", but I thought it would be worth a note that I've been reading up on lordosis (based on a chance comment about pattern modification on a vintage sewing blog!) which seems to describe my particular type of pelvic tilt/uneven waistline/back curvature and might be something to look into ameliorating through exercise/stretching, so I'll mention that to $trainer when I see her next week. Oh and I think I might be getting a UTI, which meant a wander up to the pharmacy this morning for some cranberry pills and shit. Hopefully it won't do much of anything if I catch it early enough. I'm pleased with myself for spotting the discomfort early, too -- last time I didn't figure out what it was until I was really sick and feverish, because I didn't/don't get the burning pee thing, just some tenderness in the general region and a run-down feeling. Speaking of run-down feeling there has been a lot of lounging around and not doing much, which I am trying not to beat myself up over. Though it would be nice to get some energy/motivation back one of these days.


Mar. 6th, 2014 12:27 am
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Living: One day at a time. Things are tough right now. I'm setting easy goals for each day (eg. Monday: go to this one appointment, don't do anything terrible/regrettable on the internets; Tuesday: a load of laundry and one difficult email) and calling it a win if I make it. Today I did some laundry, some dishes, some tidying, watered the garden (why no raiiiinnnn?), and a bit of work-work. It'll do for now.

Working: not as much as I should be, really. Trying to ramp back up into actual paying work because, you know, rent. Feeling terrible about stuff I've dropped on the ground, emails I owe, etc. Augh. Step by step, Skud, step by step. Also, not sure if it's work-work but it's computery so I'll count it: I upgraded my laptop to Mavericks, my iPhone to iOS 7, and switched to using Tweetbot for twitter. Mixed feelings on Tweetbot; wish I could invent some frankenstein-monster hybrid between it and Echofon. Echofon's got a smoother UI in general (fewer clicks to get shit done), but Tweetbot has the all-important keyword muting.

Playing: Reading lots of fic (mostly re-reads and comfort fic) for relaxation/enjoyment. Playing (in another sense) a lot of music. This gender swing brings music back with it. I've missed it a lot, actually. I don't know what music my femme self likes (maybe nothing much?), but my butch self likes all kinds of cool shit. Tonight I listened to The Coup and Fugazi and, ok, the Buffy musical episode but only because iTunes brought it up kind of randomly. Also been playing the guitar again, mostly just doing some basic drills and stuff, buildling up calluses again. Had to take a couple of days off because I actually got blisters and lost some skin, but I'm back at it again today.

Planning: I... not much. Hmmm. I just don't seem to have the mental space/energy for it right now. I've been thinking a lot about haircuts though! I think I want a sort of Jedward haircut, actually. Just trying to figure out whether to dye first or cut first. Think I'm going to take a quasi-hippyish middle ground and break out the Lush "caca noir" black henna (actually henna+indigo) which gives a naturalish dark black-brown, rather than going back to the old bleach-and-brights.

Reading: Fic. Lots and lots of fic. Fic I've already read before, for the most part. Comfort reading.

Watching: that "Stephen Fry in America" series from like 2008. I can't quite remember why I started but once I did I felt honour-bound to complete it. I find Fry hard to watch. In his most negative moods he reminds me of my asshole father. On the other hand, dad never has the whimsy or the childlike joy that Fry has when he likes something. The show was weird to watch. So many layers of cross-cultural experience/opinion, between Fry's visiting eye and my ex-expat one. Meh. Not what I'd call a really enjoyable viewing experience, but not an altogether bad one. On a completely different note, this vid by [personal profile] thuviaptarth about militarism in the Avengers universe. Highly recommended.

Making: Bought some wool last time I was in Melbourne and have been knitting a cowl from it. The wool is a sport weight long-colour-shift 100% wool in cool red, blue, and grey. The cowl is tight/single-wrap, in a simple slip-stitch pattern that breaks up the colour a bit and provides some texture. I'm hoping to wear it when biking around Ballarat etc; wanted something non-flappy for the purpose. It's pure comfort knitting and feels lovely and squidgy.

Health: went to see the free therapist at the local community health centre on Monday, and OMGGGGG she is the BEST. Like, I never really understood that crush-on-the-therapist trope until now? But wow, she is great. Forthright, feminist, generally appreciative of my outspoken/analytical ways. Wants me to send her my dorky gender spreadsheet. Listened to me ramble about my gender stuff, reached into the mess I'd dumped on the ground, and pulled out the tangle right at the middle IN OUR FIRST SESSION. Gave me homework so intense that it feels like fucking on the first date. Which, you know, I'm into. Even though this is shit I have NEVER talked about and she just picked it out of the mess and said "ok, let's deal with this first." Basically I don't know whether to be terrified or all heart-eyes, but it is basically good. Also, I joined the gym yesterday, which in any other week would have been newsworthy, but this week is not so much. And my uterus is doing that thing it does, which tbh I am mostly annoyed with because it is interfering with my newly-revived solo sex life. WHATEVER UTERUS, YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

How's your week?
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Anyone have a tool/thingy for easily switching between two or more DW accounts? Ideally a Firefox plugin, but if you have other things then let me know. Ditto for AO3 accounts. (But not just "use a different browser" please.)
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This is a crosspost from Chez Skud. You can comment here or there.

Whew, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but it seems like the stars have aligned and I have both a harvest and the time to post about it.

This week, like the last few, has had harvests that look more or less like this:

one zucchini, one small eggplant, and some tomatoes

a yellow zucchini, two small eggplants, some tomatoes, and dill seed

Actually those photos are from earlier weeks but it’s so similar this week that they’ll serve just as well! (That’s dill seed in the second photo btw.)

I’m getting a handful of veggies like this every couple of days I suppose: a zucchini or two, some thin little eggplants (“early long purple” variety), a handful of tomatoes. Apart from salads, I’ve been making ratatouille-variants (tonight: a layered casserole with cheesey rice and zucchini-tomato-herbs) and the other day I made this chocolate zucchini cake, only with walnuts instead of choc chips, and it was a total winner.

Everything is a bit late and less productive than I would have liked, I think because of moving house in December, but I’ve basically considered that anything I get out of the garden this summer is a bonus, so I can’t really complain.

Today I was also the lucky recipient of this:

a bag of apples and a bag of plums

They came off my next door neighbour’s tree, and will turn into applesauce and stewed plums over the next few days. I gave them a jar of tomato kasundi in exchange, and promised to bake them a loaf of bread as well. Then I walked away with a wheelbarrow load of paving bricks that they considered trash but which I’ll use as stepping stones through my garden beds. Win!

Apart from all this, I’ve been picking herbs, but didn’t bother to take pics. I have been drinking a lot of water flavoured with fresh mint, though, which is lovely and refreshing. I’m glad to have got into that habit.

See other people’s harvests over at Daphne’s blog.

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... where, back in the day, I would post to LJ all the time just talking about shit that was going on in my life. And so would other people. And I would know what my friends were up to, no matter how far apart we are.

So, let's try this:

Living: much better now I've figured out why I was feeling so shit these last few weeks. Settling in well in the new place. Loving Ballarat, for the most part. Still need a few things for the house (another sofa, a TV) but really can't complain.

Working: just launched 3000 Acres a week ago. It's a website to help people connect with each other and with vacant land to start community gardens. Then had a quiet week this last week in recovery from that, and the sustainable living festival, and personal dramaz, and life in general.

Playing: Hmmm, don't feel like I've been playing much. I did go to the Eureka pool a couple of weeks back and splashed around which was nice. I've been enjoying the physicality of riding my bike everywhere. Thinking of going back to the gym (if I can find a good one near here).

Planning: to make lots more preserves before the summer bounty is over, and to switch things up a lot with Growstuff to pick up the pace and get things happening again. Also [personal profile] celuran and I are talking about whether we can start our own CWA branch (apparently you only need 6 women) and make it explicitly modern/inclusive/etc.

Reading: deja vu fandom time, re-visiting fic I loved a few years ago. Also borrowing books from the local library on the basis of "written by women of colour" which makes for rather mixed reading. Right now it's "Half Blood Blues", a novel about about black jazz musicians in Germany and France during WW2.

Watching: Season 2 of The Doctor Blake Mysteries, more or less as they air. Sue Perkins' sitcom "Heading Out" (didn't like it much, probably won't finish). Caught up on Elementary.

Making: Preserves. All the preserves. Yesterday, 3 different kinds (salsa, kasundi, roasted peppers) with [personal profile] celuran and [personal profile] halfeatenmoon, and today, "breakfast fruit" aka simple stewed fruit that I eat with my muesli. Also, pants. I have the sewing maching set up on the dining table and I'm fiddling with a pattern I've got. First pair of flannelette PJ pants came out kind of daggy, but if I slim them down around the bum and widen them at the cuff and tweak the pockets a bit I think they'll be good. When I have the pattern down (which I figure might take 3 pairs of PJ pants) then I'm going to make some daytime pants from the same pattern. Also, just finished a knitted cardigan which, given gender swings, I probably won't wear until I swing back the other way. GREAT TIMING SKUD.

Health: Broadly good. Continuing work on ED stuff. Found a local GP who is a) female, and b) the clinic seems to be queer-friendly, so that is nice. She wants me to get bloodwork done, which I am not looking forward to. Seeing dietician in Melbourne every 2 months now. Community health centre (where the GP is) has a program for free (FREE!!!1) counselling and I'm hoping they have a counsellor who matches my style/needs because how awesome is that? There's no time limit or anything.
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(for me)

* Feeling of "frumpiness" or general dissatisfaction with appearance
* Lack of interest in grooming/personal appearance
* Avoidance of social events that I have to dress for/increased "fashion crisis" before going out
* Formerly favourite clothes or accessories languishing or gathering dust
* Hairstyle ennui (eg. style growing out, not getting haircuts)
* Discomfort at compliments about appearance/grooming that highlight gender
* Unfinished craft projects/dissatisfaction with craft projects that are gendered
* Changing interest in craft/maker projects or styles of project (eg. from embroidery to woodwork or vice versa)
* Change in music tastes/listening habits
* Higher than usual body-hatred, avoidance of mirrors, etc.
* Avoiding photos, video chat, etc.
* Depression, general feeling of meh, eating badly, not taking care of life admin
* (?) Starting to self-identify differently eg. on forms/paperwork/in talking to people
* (?) More likely to mention my tendency to shift gender presentation to people

Noting these down for future reference. Just realised I've got all these going on at present. One of these days I'll get good enough at noticing gender swings that I won't take weeks to go "oh, of COURSE".

So yeah. I seem to be a month or two into a feminine-to-masculine swing. The minute I realised I got up off the sofa, went and dug out some trousers and a sports bra and put them on, dumped some feminine stuff in the laundry or in a "to be put away until next time" heap, and have about 300% as much energy. Time to make food/wash dishes/make a small crafty modification to my messenger bag (flower buttons: GONE.)

ETA: first masculine swing since changing my wallet name. All I can say is OH THANK FUCK.
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So, Wikipedia's list of neural symptoms of hypoglycemia sounds horrifyingly familiar. The other night I had a third or more of them, well past "impaired judgement" and into "not sure I can see straight" as I was biking home, and then on to "rage".

If you see me ranting in a way that's, like, way beyond my usual standards, someone please intervene before hypoglycemic hulk loses me any more friends?

content note: non-weight-loss diet talk and ED mentions, nothing too detailed )
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What with moving and everything in December, I totally missed the window for holiday cards. But I feel the urge to send snailmail to people occasionally, so if you'd like to be on my list for postcards and the like, at random times of the year, feel free to leave your address here. Comments are screened.

(If you celebrate Christmas or enjoy seasonal cards around December, feel free to mention that also, and I'll start my list early. LMK if you have a preference as to Christian/Christmas content on end-of-year cards; I default to "season's greetings" or mild/secular Christmas cards in the absense of info.)

* may not contain actual shit
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This is a crosspost from Chez Skud. You can comment here or there.

Time for another Garden Share Collective, hosted by Lizzie at Strayed from the Table.

As you probably remember, I moved into my new house in December and quickly rushed to set up a bit of no-dig garden using my moving boxes as the bottom layer. It now looks like this:

no dig garden with lots of things growing, including a number of tall tomato plants with stakes

Standing up near the compost bins, looking back toward the house. Just in the foreground you can see the latest expansion in the no-dig beds, just started last week before it got hot.

(For comparison, see last month.)

Everything’s coming along nicely albeit a bit slower than if I’d put everything in during the spring. Unlike many people, my garden hasn’t suffered too much from the heat, and to be honest I’m not sure why. I basically just give it a good soak once a day if it’s over 30, or twice a day if it’s over 35. The worst I’ve seen is a few scorched leaves on the zucchini. I don’t mean to boast, but I am quite pleased!

So, the tour, in photos:

sunflower bud

The sunflowers are about as tall as I am, and just about to bloom.

zucchini plant with a couple of flowers, one female

This is the biggest of the zucchini plants, and today for the first time it has a female flower (the one with the little zucchini attached). Fingers crossed for fertilization!

my hand, full of small to medium red and yellow tomatoes.

I’m harvesting a small salad worth of tomatoes every couple of days. The yellowish ones are jaune flammes, the tiny red ones are wild sweeties, and I’m not sure what the in between red ones are.

garden beds with beans, zucchini, and squash

I’ve extended into another section since last month, if I recall correctly. Beans in the foreground, and that’s a potimarron (aka kuri squash) growing up the frame in the background.

a squash plant starting to grow long tendrils around a tree stump

The pumpkins/squashes I planted in spots on the other side of the garden, which were tiny seedlings last month, are now starting to sprawl across the garden.

several trays of seedlings

But where things are really starting to change is down the back, where I have a whole seedling production facility coming along in the greenhouse/shadehouse. Mostly what I have coming along here are various kinds of greens.

seedlings in a tray

These are the ones that are closest to being ready to plant out, once I have some more space ready for them. Calendula, mizuna, perpetual spinach, and I forget what else to be honest.

two trays of microgreens

I’ve also been growing microgreens. Peas on the right, “winter mix” (beet, kale, mustard, etc) on the left. Just about ready to start picking.

lemon tree in a pot

I also scored this lemon tree from Emilly. She reckons it needs to go into the ground because it’s not happy in the pot, but doesn’t have anywhere good to put it herself, so I promised to take care of it until the weather cools down a little, then plant it near my washing line. We’re not sure what variety it is, but either Meyer or Eureka.

plums hanging from the tree

The fruit trees are coming along okay I guess. There are a few plums like this, which look like they’ll need at least another week to ripen.


And finally, I got some comfrey in next to the compost bins. I’d like to grow some other good compost herbs, too.

So all in all things are looking pretty good, though not as productive as they would have been if I’d got stuff planted earlier. I’m particularly keen for the zucchini to start happening, and have my fingers crossed for the other kinds of squash/pumpkin hoping they’ll have time to fruit and ripen before autumn gets too cold. No luck yet from the eggplants or tomatillos, either, and I’m starting to think tomatillos aren’t worth the bother. We’ll see.

To do this month:

  • Extend the no-dig beds towards the compost bins. (I’m actually running short on cardboard, but will do as much as I can, maybe on Tuesday when the weather is cooler.)
  • Start planting greens around that area.
  • Keep going with succession planting, and definitely get the winter crops started from seed.
  • Establish a perennial/herb bed near the back door of the house — need to put aside a couple of boxes just for this, or else use newspaper/junk mail/???
  • Pot up the various mints I have into larger pots, and find a good spot for them all to live (I’m thinking near the greenhouse).
  • Keep watering everything regularly!
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So I wrote this guest post for Hoyden About Town (Australian feminist group blog), talking about the Country Women's Association (analogous to Britain's W.I.), what I like/don't like about it, and starting a bit of brainstorming about what a similar women's org (i.e. mutual support, skill-sharing, community involvement, women's issues) might look like if we started from scratch now, rather than trying to work with a structure that's been around for 85 years and hasn't changed much in that time.

Quick thoughts:

- explicit policies around diversity and inclusiveness / avoiding religious language / etc
- easy to start a local group with minimal bureaucracy; lightweight processes to avoid meeting fatigue
- activities/interests/causes/projects developed by each local group
- strong online presence including useful central website and social media
- an online "toolkit" to help groups start, develop, run activities, and deal with common situations

Not sure if this will come to anything more than a thought experiment, though I know there are people who would be keen to join such an organisation if there was enough momentum and interest to get it going.

Anyway if this is of any interest to you, I set up a Loomio group (Loomio's a web app for consensus-based decision making, developed by some kiwis who were involved in #occupy) to discuss. If you're interested in joining in over there, click the "ask to join" button.

July 2014

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