NYC Radical Reference Meeting July 21, 2006

Radical Reference Meeting 7-21-2006

Present: Dena, James, Jenna, John, Jonny, Julia, Julie, Kate, Melissa


  • Update: Directory of Organizations
  • Update: Wetlands archive
  • LightningBug
  • Meeting themes
  • Radical Reference presentations
  • Website/cataloging
  • NYC projects
  • Critical Mass defense fund (not actually on the agenda we established at the beginning of the meeting, but we talked about it)

    Directory of Organizations
    Melissa is working with the National Lawyers Guild, NYC Chapter to create an annotated list of activist and non-profit groups for the use of its radical lawyers and students. Dena and Matthew have already offered to help, and Melissa may enlist others once she's compiled the list of organizations.

    Wetlands archive

    • John, Julie, and Melissa went to the Wetlands storage facility to help them inventory their archival materials. Many of the materials have already been set aside for libraries, and the rest are available for the taking. The Wetlands activists want to see all of it find homes. They're environmentalists and don't want to their stuff go in the trash or even get recycled.
    • NYC Rad Reffies will work with them again this Saturday (7/22) from 1-4:30 and next Saturday as well. Get in touch with Julie if you want to help. It doesn't have to be on a Saturday. juliecrawford around riseup dotty net


    • Can the questions be categorized, i.e. assigned to experts?
      This would be a drag if it required human intervention, but maybe it could work if the questioner assigned their question to a category. This still seems like a pain in the ass unless someone wants to take charge of this project. It would also require work from the LightningBug developers.
      Another option would be creating a list of experts to whom librarians could refer questions or from whom they could get help. This idea seems preferable to the NYC group.
    • TANGENT: Should the NYC group be making decisions (recommendations?) like this, just because we're the only ones that really meet regularly face to face???
    • That reminds us, other groups have asked for a guide to developing their own local collectives. Jenna and Jonny will work on this, but we want to reiterate that local collectives are autonomous and should develop their own ways of doing things that suit their members and community.
    • LightningBug vetters--there are so many that people aren't getting assigned new questions very often.
      Should we use the LightningBug upgrade on Sunday as an opportunity to clean house? The NYC group is in favor of that and (refer to tangent above) have decided that we should indeed not move the vetters to the new system. So, if you want to remain a vetter, you must write to info around radicalreference dotty info and ask to be reinstated. Except for those in attendance at the meeting, who volunteered to be the skeleton pool until we hear from the rest of y'all. And also Jim Miller, who is not allowed to stop answering questions ever. Regarding the tangent issue, if everyone is pissed about this decision from NYC, we can ask the developers to move over all 277 vetters after all.

    Meeting themes

    • Andrew suggested that we have salon like discussions at our meetings, perhaps to attract new members. That seems like a swell idea, so maybe we'll have every other meeting be half discussion. The first one will be in September, which will also be a meeting that we announce widely to general NYC area discussion lists. We'll brainstorm themes online and at the August meeting.
    • Julie and Jenna are interested in some of the theme meetings be trainings (legal, medical, anti-oppression, coding), rather than discussions. Dena will look into organizing a Legal Observer training, and Julie a street medic session.
    • While we were discussing NYC meetings, we got onto the topic of the NYCRR list. Should we make that opt-in also? It's meant to be a working list, and some active participants are uncomfortable with people lurking or even possibly spying. The list was orginally set up as opt-out, which is kind of obnoxious. Should we reverse it now? No decision was reached. Comments?
    • We also talked about doing another fundraiser or even just a social.

    Radical Reference presentations
    There are often calls for presentations (papers, panels, skill shares) at radical events in and around NYC. Should we be participating in more of them?

    • Melissa suggested we do something at the Park Slope Food Co-op, and Jonny thought Bluestockings might be interested as well. They'll ask.
    • We also thought of setting up a speakers bureau kind of thing where we list who can talk on what topic/train on what skill. We would also organize train the trainer sessions and assemble teaching materials and application/proposal text so that it's easy to put together a presentation at the last minute.

    Website cataloging

    • Since we set up the taxonomy around ccwpsandiego dotty org, we decided it would be inappropriate for NYC to take this on (see tangent above again). Those who want to talk about it should join the list. Write to info @ to be added.
    • While we're on the topic of working groups, James (not Jacobs) volunteered to work on the website. Anyone else want to be on a website working group?

    Critical Mass
    Torie got a ticket at last month's ride, for allegedly riding through a red light. The ticket could cost $200. Shall we use the defense fund money, if there is any, to help pay the ticket? We say yes! Radym, can you send it to Torie? Others, want to contribute to pay the balance?

    Adjournment to the ABC No Rio victory party.

    Please send corrections the minutes to nyc around radicalreference dotty info.