We need the CHT core team to actively get involved. Now!

Continuing the discussion from This community needs more involvement from its founders!:

This was written on April 1st. A sad joke?

Over the past few weeks, an amazing amount of work has been done on the Awareness initiative on Github. Now it looks like it’s all going to waste soon, lacking support and directions from the core team. We need encouragement!

The CHT core team seems to be neglecting the community. I understand they are busy and lack the time, in which case I ask, “Why don’t you recruit motivated volunteers to help and steer the community’s efforts?” Surely, you can find such people, who want to play an active role helping this community’s initiatives take flight.

Motivated volunteers could be anyone, doesn’t have to be a former major executive of a major tech company. This community comprises many talented individuals from various backgrounds, and many would be valuable additions to the core team.

On CHT’s landing page, we see a prominent link: Get Involved, leading to this forum. Please, core team, realize that the community can add so much to your own efforts to engage with governments and tech companies CEOs to lead to positive change.

Failing which, I am afraid the core team’s efforts will always be too little, too late. We’ve all seen how half-hearted legislations fail to fully and timely address the most critical issues: addiction, manipulation and destruction of our privacy.

I personally believe that real power, and a real mandate to force meaningful changes from the industry, can only come from a strong grassroots movement, something you appear, sadly, not so interested in forming.

I ask you @aschrijver, if you agree, to suggest the CHT core team to (1) recruit someone on their team to lead this community’s awareness campaigns and (2) actively support any initiative this community is proposing (provided it is compatible with CHT’s mission and message).

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And yes, this is for your attention, @tristanh.

In my opinion, the core team should formally create the (paid) position of forum leader/CHT liaison and give that position to @aschrijver. There is no one better than he.

Speaking of which, it would be nice to have information about CHT’s finances and how its funds are being allocated.


Couldn’t agree more, @patm!


Thank you both, for your kind words @patm, and @anon51879794!

Caution: This warrants a thorough, long response, so please bear with me…

The topic that Georges brings up - a valid one - has been discussed many times since the creation of this forum, and unfortunately there has been little feedback and help from the founders to have the community reach its potential. Besides Tristan’s response to my enquiry we have had @randy’s June Community Update, introducing @Mamie to the community (who has done great work helping to reorganize the forum), and @lydialaurenson announcing The Ledger of Harms and her careful agreement on crowdsourcing it in the future (but unfortunately feedback on current version has not yet been addressed).

So, sporadic involvement from the CHT, but too little in general, which has led to frustration (including with me) and led to many people leaving the community (well, becoming inactive - just like me, last summer).

But now for the good parts :slight_smile:

At the end of August I had a really good conference call with @Mamie, where she explained the position of the CHT core team. Summarizing:

  • After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the interest by press, tech corporations and even world leaders for the CHT literally exploded! As a result all priorities and strategies of the core team have changed since.

  • The core team is really just very small, with little funding. They are truly swamped in work with hundreds upon hundreds of requests coming to them on a regular basis.

  • At the strategic, top-down level where they are operating since, they are tremendously successful, literally sitting at the table with world leaders, being heard and listened to!

Knowing this helps in understanding (and forgiving) why they haven’t given the community due attention. After all, how would you prioritize with having all of this on your plate?

Then Mamie continued making some important statements that led me to reorganize the community in its current form (repeating from my Roadmap post in the Campaigners group):

"The Center for Humane Technology created this forum as a place for people to connect and share ideas related to the impact of technology on society. The CHT staff doesn’t manage this forum: it is driven by and for volunteers

“CHT Team members participate from time to time to share news and projects relevant to this community.”

This is a place for concerned consumers and technology-makers to self-organize, as we all build a movement for creating more humane technology.” (emphasis mine)

A very important remark, that has led me to revamp the forum to align to the same four strategic pillars as the CHT, and with the Humane Tech Community (HTC) positioned as a subsidiary of the CHT, working as a grassroots movement from the bottom-up, towards the CHT whose approach is top-down (see the forum header).

This new Community position statement frees our hands, allowing us to organize our own initiatives, while taking the following to heart:

  • We are a subsidiary of the CHT
  • We can operate independently from the CHT
  • We are fully aligned with the mission, vision and strategies of the CHT
  • Our community will be an exemplar of Humane Technology

So we are a separate entity: The Community for Humane Technology (HTC) and have our own logo (see github). And I’ll act as custodian of mission, vision and brand for both CHT and HTC from the community side.

Following from this:

  • All the basic community structures and organization, should be built by the community itself!

This includes methods, tools, guidelines, knowledge, brand, influence, and more. You can see how this is a humongous job, and, of course, I cannot - and will not - do all that by myself. I need help from you, and many, many others. Actually, the more people who join, the better. This community is crowdsourced entirely.

  • Contributing to the community, and its projects, should be fun and rewarding

You can strive to take on any role in this community you want. Your dedication, perseverance and understanding of mission and vision, will ensure that you reap the subsequent rewards. You want to fight for Humane Tech, but also develop new skills, create a portfolio, become an influencer? You can! Just state your rewards when working together, and we’ll help each other attain them.

This community has the philosophy (which we will further refine), of:

  1. Trust-first: If you state an ambition, we allow you to go for it, and facilitate you
  2. Dedication: If you commit yourself to your ambition you can attain any role you want
  3. Recognition: And that leads automatically to the community’s trust and acceptance of that role
  4. Free choice: You are always free to step down again, or take on a different community role
  5. Self-organization: If you step down, or become inactive, eventually someone else will take over

My dream is to unleash the full potential of this community and I’ve made that my mission + vision. You can do that too, and you can strive for any role and position in the community that aligns to your ambition and capabilities. Note that there should also be people who are able to replace my role, in case I cannot fulfill it any longer. It is the community’s strength that matters most.

  • Our mission is "To align technology to humanity’s best interests"

This whole repositioning and community direction has the approvement of the core team, and I’ll make the exception now, and share the private response that @randy gave me on my recent progress report (I’m sure that he consents with that):

“Thank you Arnold for this update! It looks fantastic – I love what you’ve done, and very much appreciate the leadership role you’ve continued to take in the community.”

“I agree that this bottom-up approach will end up meeting the other work we’re doing at CHT, and the combo will be very powerful!.”

Now - finally - back to what this all means for cooperation between HTC and CHT:

  1. We develop our own initiatives
  2. We determine on a case-by-case basis what help is needed from the CHT
  3. Before making a request we make it as actionable as possible, requiring little to no time to act on it

Where I see an important cooperation initially, is in our Awareness Campaigns program, and specifically the Aware Prepare dogfooding campaign. We need the influence of the founders to help us in community building, to attract new members and project cooperators.

An example of some very easy action that CHT can help us with, is in the occasional community promotion. If @tristanh - who is a frequent Tweeter - is e.g. waiting in an airport lounge, a quick Tweet of his can do wonders to us, and costs him no time, if we prepare the message and make it a simple copy / paste / send action for Tristan.

With all of this, I hope I have put your worries to rest and convinced you that we are on a great path. A journey to become an influential grassroots movement, that has dragged itsefl from the clay, and will prove that there is power in numbers. That humanity can self-organize when the need is there!

:cloud_with_lightning_and_rain: —> :muscle: —> :rainbow: —> :sunny: —> :heart:

PS. I’ll create an improved pinned topic about our community plans, but in the meantime you could refer people with similar questions to this post.

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I’ve been on the forum for many months, and have learned a tremendous amount as a result. I also find it heartening to find other people who share my deep concerns about the impact of technology on our culture and on each and all human beings - people who seek to find ways to work on these concerns, with passion and determination, often together.

That said, it strikes me as deeply ironic that the forum is conceived of and understood only as a virtual space, and all efforts to collaborate are intermediated by technology. I do find this forum and what it offers very valuable - that said, I truly believe that everything we know about technology and about human nature, cognition, social norms, movement building and systems level change requires people to actually interact - at times - in person.

Months ago I suggested some kind of convening or conference, and while there was interest, the reality is that there doesn’t seem to be a critical mass of people to work on this together - most particularly there are not enough people in one physical location who can at least occasionally meet. I am doing organizing outside of this subect area with others around the country using technology (conference call, zoom) but there are several key differences: many of us know each other - in the real world - even if we don’t live in the same location now, and we recognize that at least some of us will need to find ways to meet in person in order to move the work forward more effectively and powerfully.

There are obviously costs to finding ways to meet - intermittently - in person - financial costs, and time, to be sure. That said, working entirely virtually without ever meeting honestly to me feels like a deeply ironic choice and a blind spot for people who otherwise have thought deeply about the ways technology can either enable greater connection and results or undermine and defeat them.

I hope others will reflect on this with me and that we can consider how it might be possible for members of this forum - at times, in some places, ideally, at least once a year, in one place - to meet in three dimensions rather than through screens.

Thanks for considering this perspective.

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Very valid point @khkey, and I am glad you brought that up!

At the start of this forum, very soon a number of Meetup groups started forming, and quickly we had over 22 of them. Frequent posts announcing meetups being planned and organized, inviting people to join. Face-to-face interaction happened - which is so important as you rightfully mention.

These meetup groups - most of them I think - still do exist, but they stopped posting to this forum. Some of them are quite large, relatively, having many members that are not on this forum.

As part of Aware Prepare I intend to bring that activity back again, and you Karen, and everyone else can help me with that.

The community will get its own website that we can maintain ourselves, and that could have a meetups.humanetech.community section where there is a shared calendar of all face-to-face activity and other gatherings, like your proposed conference. Furthermore each meetup group can have their own web section, e.g. amsterdam.humanetech.community, sanfrancisco.humanetech.community, etc.

Besides meetups we can organize hackathons, and I brought up the idea of organizing a yearly synchronized hackathon between all of our meetup groups. We can become very creative in bonding, getting to know each other better, sharing culture and community vibe.

I suggest the Campaigners team will hold a number of video calls to discuss plans, and for our actual campaigns people will come together to create video’s, do interviews on the street, organize flash mobs and stunts… (as long as there is interest, but we first need to organize).

We are a global community, so we’ll need that digital medium that binds us. But that does not mean we should just be a forum, like we are now.

How soon all of this happens? That depends on our concerted efforts and ideas :slight_smile: